Southern Brooklyn

Local World Trade Center Victim’s Family Disputes $1.4M Inheritance

Dennis Vinichenko and his new family via Facebook

Evgueni Kniazev came to the United States in 1992. He then met, paid $5,000 and married Irina Dubenskaya, who was already a U.S. citizen.

When Kniazev died tragically in the 9/11 attacks, his wife collected $1.4 million from the World Trade Center Victim’s Compensation Fund.

Only, his son, Dennis Vinichenko, is now disputing Dubenskaya’s claim to the financial inheritance. Vinichenko says that the marriage was fraud, arranged to get his father citizenship. Vinichenko claims that Dubenskaya does not deserve the money.

“My father was burned alive,” Vinichenko told the New York Post. “This woman was saying she was my family, and then she took all this money. She wasn’t really his wife. She was just trying to cash in.”

Dubenskaya lives in the Sheepshead Bay home that she and Kniazev shared since 2001. She claims the marriage was real.

“I can’t tell if that was Eugene’s original intention,” she said. “I thought we had a nice marriage. We started living the American dream life. Then he died.”

Others who knew the couple say the marriage may have been a fraud, but it was one that was mutually beneficial.

A friend of the couple, Alexander Teperev said though Kniazev may have initially married Dubenskaya for a green card, he also enjoyed her company.

“It was both,” Teperev said. “It was business, and he liked her, too.”

Dubenskaya claims that Vinichenko has been hounding her and leaving threatening messages on her door.

“I have nothing to hide,” she said. “Dennis got what he was entitled [to]. I respect Eugene. I love him. I just wish he didn’t have a son like that,” she said.

Vinichenko’s former lawyer admits that Dubenskaya is actually entitled to the entire sum.

“She would have technically been entitled to the whole thing, even though the marriage was a sham,” said attorney Brian Schachter. “At the time, I thought it was a decent deal.”

Vinichenko believes the money would be better spent on Kniazev’s family still living in Siberia, and on his newborn son.

Vinichenko was not left out to dry. He received more than $35,000 from her. Vinichenko’s sister, who still lives in Russia, is also due to receive a cut.

The amount the siblings got totaled about $150,000, after legal fees. However, Vinichenko feels that Dubenskaya pushed him to accept the deal by threatening to call the immigration on him because he is here illegally.

“I didn’t like the way the money went,” he said. “Her son got to go to college for free. It wasn’t his son. I felt bad about that. The money wasn’t distributed properly.”

It’s not clear whether or not another suit, or immigration fraud charges, will be brought against either party. Sadly, Kniazev never got the green card he so badly wanted. It arrived in the mail three years after his death.

Comment policy


  1. Really, I mean REALLY, does the guy’s family photo need to be posted here?  Unless he himself provided it this is a very low move.

  2. If the image is publicly available, why not. If anyone can search for this guy, and his Facebook is not set to private, where its difficult to find him, then one can argue, that what we have above, is appropriate. 

  3. Sorry Dennis, but it’s been more then 3 years of them being married.  by law that counts as a legitimate wedding. 


  4. I don’t know how he  can dispute the marriage. They married legally, lived together, were seen together. So what, there was a business part to it. Probably 90% of marriages in U.S. would be invalidated if that was a disqualification.

  5. I question the compensation fund. 1.4M is a lot. Sure the victim died and his family is grieving and suffering and maybe lost a provider, but death is death, just because the method is different does that mean you’re entitled to a million and a half? What about the taxi driver who was shot in the head in that other article? Is his family getting 1.4M?

  6. While legally a wife would be entitled to the monies, morally and in this case it is wrong. If she was a decent human being she would have at least offered 1/2 to the deceased mans family. Would the family feel 50% was enough then? I don not know.

  7. Irina Dubenskaya is a shameless thief fraud and a liar, she said that the money will go to the family and then pocketed $250.000 life insurance, $400.000 from red cross and other charities and $1.400.000 from 9/11 Family Victims Comp Fund, she mailed old clothes to Evgueni’s family in Russia and now threating the real family of Evgueni Kniazev with extorsion.In 2005 she told New York Post that she was insulted when Evgueni’s green card came in, and claimed to be his family, while she stole $2M from the real family, shame on you Irina Dubenskaya, you took $ that didn’t belong to you and you knew it, that’s theft and you running around NY telling everyone that your husband died in 9/11, return money and go back to Ukraine!

  8. how would you feel if your father called you while he is burning alive in the tower??? not good right?.. then to have a women who claims to be family pay her sons (from a different marriage) way through college without a care for “her husbands” real family who are suffering and in pain from losing their dad in a horrific way and she only gave them 150,000 out of 1.4 million. WRONG WRONG WRONG

  9. thats why most marriages end in divorce… they are invalid to begin with and if marriage is so sacred then all the marriages that are fraudulant should be prosecuted

  10. I dont agree… there are a million and one familys that recieve money from public charities and government because of tragedies. . families of people who die in car accidents or by gun shots get life insurance policies. they get money too if they are insured

  11. A lot of ppl are here illegally, he came with his father at an adolecent age, wasnt his choice to be here… we need to kick ppl out of AMERICA like you. No matter how he got here his father and ONLY family was killed and this lady who claims to be family pushed him out after this incident.. If their marriage was real and she cared this situation wouldnt have even come about. Selfish

Comments are closed.