Minnesota man accused of faking death deemed flight risk

A U.S. district court judge Monday ruled a Minnesota man who allegedly faked his own death is too much a flight risk to be released from custody before his trial early next year.

The hearing also gave a clearer picture of how Igor Vorotinov ended up behind bars in Minnesota in the first place.

Prosecutors say Igor and his wife Irina conspired to defraud Mutual of Omaha out of more than $2 million in life insurance money. Irina and their son Alkon were both convicted for their roles in the crime, but Igor avoided extradition to the U.S. until earlier this month. Investigators say Alkon cooperated with authorities back in 2015, telling them his father was alive and living under an alias in Moldova.

The following year, investigators had a phone call with Igor in the eastern European country asking him to come back and face charges, but he told them he would not because he has family over there and was not going to leave them.

Authorities in Transistria, a separatist region of Moldova, arrested Vorotinov a few months later and turned him over to Moldovan authorities. Igor had been fighting extradition until Nov. 1 when the Moldovan Court of Appeals ruled he could be brought to the U.S. and authorities there turned him over to the FBI.

Leaving the federal courthouse Monday after the detention hearing, Igor's brother, Eugene, said Igor isn't a flight risk because he doesn't have a passport and could have been placed on electronic home monitoring. 

"If he leaves the apartment, they'll notice it or what else, they'll arrest him anyways,” said Eugene. “They spent too much money. They don't want to look bad."

However, when it comes to how his supposedly dead brother turned up alive, Eugene Vorotinov is staying mum.

“No comment," he said.

As for why Igor may have done this, investigators say he owed the local Russian community in Minnesota $2 million to $3 million. For now, his trial for one count of mail fraud is scheduled to start on Jan. 25.