Story at a glance
- Alahverdian was linked to a sexual assault in Utah through DNA.
- Authorities say he faked his death in 2020 and fled to Scotland.
- Investigators were able to track him down after he was hospitalized with COVID-19 in the country.
A Rhode Island man who police allege faked his own death to avoid fraud and sexual assault charges in 2020 has been arrested in Scotland after he was hospitalized for COVID-19.
Rhode Island State Police Maj. Robert A. Creamer told The Providence Journal this week Nicholas Alahverdian was found alive in a Glasgow hospital suffering from COVID-19. His condition was so dire he had to be put on a ventilator at one point.
In 2008, Alahverdian was convicted on two sex-related charges under the alias Nicholas Rossi in Dayton, Ohio. Those charges stemmed from an encounter between Alahverdian and another Sinclair Community College student, according to The Providence Journal.
Prosecutors in Utah on Wednesday said DNA evidence taken from a separate 2008 sexual assault was submitted for testing in 2017 as part of the states push to review a backlog of sexual assault kits and linked Alahverdian to the crime. In 2018, the DNA profile from an assault in Orem, Utah came back as a match to Nicholas Rossi.
“Investigators also learned that Nicholas Rossi had fled the country to avoid prosecution in Ohio and attempted to lead investigators and state legislators in other states to believe that he was deceased,” the Utah County Attorney’s office said in a release this week.
“Mr. Rossi was discovered to be living under an assumed name in Scotland,” authorities said. He had been living under the alias Arthur Knight.
Alahverdian was identified through photo evidence, according to the Utah County Attorney’s Office.
In early 2020, Alahverdian, who was a vocal and known critic of Rhode Island’s child welfare system, told local media outlets he was suffering from non-Hodgkin lymphoma and had just weeks to live. His death was reported by local news and he was a well-known figure in the state.
At the time of his alleged death, he was under investigation by the FBI, according to The Providence Journal.
Alahverdian, 34, is wanted in Rhode Island for failing to register as a sex offender, as well as in Ohio for fraud after allegedly obtaining credit cards and loans in his foster father’s name and running up some $200,000 in debts.
Prosecutors said Alahverdian was arrested and extradition proceedings are underway.
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