It is an unfortunate reality that not everyone who is criminally prosecuted actually intends to commit a crime. Under certain circumstances it is possible the accused could end up facing criminal consequences because of the position he or she is placed in by others. A man recently represented by attorney Matthew Mankey knows this all too well.
In March of 2010, Igor Vorotinov submitted an application for a life insurance policy, on his own life, with Mutual of Omaha Insurance Company. On the application Igor Vorotinov provided false information including that he had a net worth of $8,000,000, that he had received treatment for a heart condition and that he had no intention of traveling outside the United States. Mutual of Omaha issued the policy which named Igor's wife Irina and their son Alkon as beneficiaries.
In January 2011 Igor Vorotinov traveled to Minsk, Belarus, returning to Minnesota, two weeks later. In March of that same year Igor returned to Belarus where in April he allegedly suffered from chest pain and was hospitalized. His wife and son traveled to visit him in the hospital and after a short stay, returned to the United States.
Igor remained in Belarus and in September of 2011 he and his cousin were reportedly drinking in a bar in Chisinau, Republic of Moldova. The next morning, 18.2 miles away from where Igor was allegedly drinking, a body was found on the side of the road. The medical examiner made a determination that the cause of death was a heart attack. Police found documents belonging to Igor on the body. No photographs were taken of the body but when shown a picture of Igor, the police investigator and medical examiner both stated that it was not the body they had handled.
Three days later Irina Vorotinov traveled to Chisinau and positively identified the corpse as her deceased husband. Irina refused to allow her son, Alkon Vorotinov and his brother, to accompany her. Irina later told friends that Igor looked so handsome in his casket. The body was cremated and brought back to the United States and a memorial service was held at Lakewood Cemetery in November 2011. Three days later Irina submitted a death claim to Mutual of Omaha and in March 2012 was paid $2,048,414.09. At his mother's direction Alkon began to wire money to investors in Europe.
In May of 2012 then 21-year-old Alkon Vorotinov traveled to Moldova to visit family and friends. While attending a party at a friend's residence, his father-- whom he believed to be dead--walked in. Alkon returned to Minnesota with his new his fiancée Olga, and confronted his mother about the faked death and fraudulent insurance claim. Around the same time a computer was seized that contained photographs of Igor taken by a camera that was not in production until nine months after Igor's alleged death.
The Plea Bargain
When confronted by the United States Attorney with this evidence, his attorney Matthew Mankey recommended that Alkon cooperate with the United States as a part of a plea bargain where Alkon would plead to Misprision of Felony which makes it a crime to not advise authorities that he was aware of the felonious conduct of another, in this case his own mother and father. The plea agreement required cooperation from Alkon in the prosecution of his mother. Alkon did everything asked of him but his mother stubbornly refused to plead despite the overwhelming evidence of her fraud.
A Twist In The Proceedings
In May of 2016 Alkon appeared for his fifth meeting with the United States Attorney presumably to be prepared to testify at his mother's trial. At that time Alkon informed the United States Attorney that the motivation for the fraud was in fact that his father had been kidnapped by the Moldovan mafia, that ransom had been paid to spare his life and that his father had instructed him to do what he needed to do but under no circumstances was he to disclose information regarding the kidnapping.
Needless to say the United States was furious with Alkon for withholding the information. During this meeting Alkon was able to reach his father by phone. Igor was in the former Soviet Union and could not be extradited. Igor gave the United States Attorney conflicting stories about when he was actually kidnapped.
The Final Outcome
As a result of this information, despite the fact that it was determined that Alkon's withholding of information about the alleged kidnapping did not impede the investigation of prosecution of his mother, the United States decided to seek a prison sentence for Alkon. At his sentencing, the Federal Judge determined that under the circumstances Alkon should not go to prison. The Judge recognized the horribly difficult position in which Alkon's parents had put him. Igor is outside the jurisdiction of the United States and it is unlikely that his mother will ever pay any of the restitution owed to Mutual of Omaha, thereby making Alkon solely responsible for paying back the $2,048,000 when he in fact did not benefit from it at all. The Judge sentenced Alkon to three years of probation with 100 hours of community service to be performed in each of the next three years.
While this was a tremendous outcome for Alkon it is an extremely bizarre and sad case. How many 21 year olds would be put in such a horrible dilemma by their own parents? The judge recognized the betrayal and used his authority to work a just but very painful result for Alkon. He will be paying restitution for a crime in which he was only peripherally involved, for the rest of his life. Despite doing nothing but protecting his parents from their own greed and poor judgment, Alkon will spend the rest of his life paying for the crimes of his parents. While he was spared a prison sentence, the case has cost him jobs, his wife, his standing in the community that has ostracized him and his reputation.