AUSTRALIA

American fugitive, 34, who faked his death to avoid sex and fraud charges caught in Galsgow hospital

A fugitive who faked his own death to escape sex and fraud charges in the US was caught at a hospital in Scotland after being put on a ventilator with a COVID infection.

Nicholas Alahverdian, 34, was arrested on an Interpol notice at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow on December 13. He had checked in under the alias Arthur Knight, and was intubated after nearly dying of the virus. 

Alahverdian – who claimed to have died of cancer in February 2020, aged 32, before being buried at sea – is being sought over a 2008 sexual assault charge in Utah.

He is accused of raping an ex-girlfriend in September 2008, with police investigating Alahverdian discovering he’d been reported to the police over similar alleged attacks in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Utah and Ohio.  

The faker, who is also known as Nicholas Rossi, was convicted of sexual assault following an ‘encounter’ with another student at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio. 

He is suspected of carrying out multiple other sex attacks, and was also accused of a $200,000 fraud after taking out credit cards and loans in his foster mother’s husband’s name in Ohio, it is alleged. Alahverdian divorced his second wife in 2017 after less than two years of marriage, and is also said to owe her $52,000. Both of his former spouses took out restraining orders against him after their marriage ended. 

Years before the made-for-Hollywood story unfolded, Alahverdian was a Rhode Island political activist who claimed to be victimized by the foster system as child, and who called for changes to state law. His tale of a man with a haunted past – who overcame adversity to become a Harvard-educated political scientist – amazed the circles he frequented, with multiple lawmakers taking pity on him. 

The charge relates to the rape of a woman in Orem, Utah who Alahverdian befriended on MySpace and later attacked, Utah County District Attorney David Leavitt told DailyMail.com.

Nicholas Alahverdian, pictured in 2011, has been arrested for a suspected sex attack after faking his death from cancer and fleeing from the US to Scotland 

This map shows the trail of havoc and alleged criminal behavior carried out by Nicholas Alahverdian across the US

This map shows the trail of havoc and alleged criminal behavior carried out by Nicholas Alahverdian across the US 

Criminal past of Nicholas Alahverdian 

Date unknown: Failure to register as a sex offender in Rhode Island. Accused of separate attack which allegedly saw him kidnap and sexually assault a woman

Date unknown: Accused of similar abduction and sexual assault attempt in Massachusetts    

2008: Convicted of sexual assault in Ohio after an ‘encounter’ with a fellow student at Sinclair Community College in Dayton. In September 2008, he allegedly raped an ex-girlfriend in Orem, Utah – the allegation that led to his arrest in December 2021.  

2017: Fraud in Ohio. Former foster mom in same state accused Alahverdian of $200,000 scam which saw him allegedly take out fake credit cards and loans in her husband’s name 

February 2020: Fakes his own death of lymphoma, with unnamed ‘widow’ claiming  Alahverdian had been buried at sea. In July, DNA links him to 2008 sex attack in Orem, Utah – the charge which ultimately led to his discovery in Scotland

December 2021: Arrested at hospital in Glasgow, Scotland, while intubated with COVID on suspicion of Utah sex attack

January 2022: Set to be extradited back to the US, where Alahverdian is almost certain to face further fraud charges for faking his own death in February 2020

Utah County Sheriff’s Office in Provo began the hunt for Alahverdian in 2020 after testing old sexual assault kits.

Those had been uploaded to a national criminal database.

The samples which saw Alahverdian convicted of the Ohio sex attacks in 2008 flashed up as a match for a sexual assault said to have taken place the same year in Orem, Utah.

That case was originally closed by the lead detective without being referred to prosecutors.   

They said DNA led to his capture in Scotland, although it is unclear how staff at the hospital grew suspicious of him.  

‘That’s where we began this investigation,’ Leavitt said Thursday. 

‘And what we found was a trail of victims from Utah to Ohio to Rhode Island, Massachusetts. 

‘All have very similar patterns, very similar stories.’

The Utah DA said Alahverdian had also fled charges in Ohio, although further details of the allegations against Alahverdian – who claims to be a married dad of two children – have not been shared.  

He also faced fraud and extortion complaints in Utah and Ohio, the Providence-Journal reported.

 It is unclear if the Ohio fraud charge is linked to the fraudulently obtained loans and credit cards. 

He was convicted in Dayton, Ohio in 2008 of public indecency and sexual imposition; Alahverdian claimed in a 2013 civil lawsuit that the charges stemmed from accusations he masturbated in a hallway of Sinclair Community College.

Alahverdian claimed to have died in Rhode Island, where his reported passing was mourned by state representatives, with his current medical issues meaning cops were finally able to track him down and arrest him. 

The Providence Journal refused to publish an obituary for Alahverdian after a woman claiming to be his third wife failed to provide a death certificate, having claimed that her ‘spouse’ was buried at sea.  

An memorial tribute was posted in February 2020 which claimed Alahverdian had died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and that his last words were 'fear not and run toward the bliss of the sun'

An memorial tribute was posted in February 2020 which claimed Alahverdian had died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and that his last words were ‘fear not and run toward the bliss of the sun’

He was convicted in Dayton, Ohio in 2008 of public indecency and sexual imposition; Alahverdian claimed in a 2013 civil lawsuit that the charges stemmed from accusations he masturbated in a hallway of Sinclair Community College.

Alahverdian claimed to have died in Rhode Island, where his reported passing was mourned by state representatives, with his current medical issues meaning cops were finally able to track him down and arrest him. 

The Providence Journal refused to publish an obituary for Alahverdian after a woman claiming to be his third wife failed to provide a death certificate, having claimed that her ‘spouse’ was buried at sea.  

He faced an extradition via videolink from his Scottish hospital room last month, and was kept under police guard. He is believed to remain in custody in Scotland awaiting extradition to the US. DailyMail.com has reached out to the Ohio County District Attorney’s office for comment. 

The con saw a gushing obituary to Alahverdian posted online, which his former foster mom suspected the alleged fraudster had written himself, after recognizing his writing style.

There was also a supposedly posthumous YouTube plea, uploaded three weeks after Alahverdian’s death, asking supporters to help the former foster child push for reform of Rhode Island’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families.

Speaking in a croaky voice towards the end of a self-aggrandizing video touting his achievements, Alahverdian said: ‘I’m Nicholas Alahverdian and I kindly ask with you to join with me in my final fight to reform DCYF.’ 

A local radio station’s news report announcing Alahverdian’s death was also uploaded to the same YouTube channel, in an attempt to underline that Alahverdian really was dead. 

Mr Alahverdian, 34, was arrested on an Interpol notice at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow on December 13 after nearly dying of Covid-19

Mr Alahverdian, 34, was arrested on an Interpol notice at the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow on December 13 after nearly dying of Covid-19

 

In March 2020, Rhode Island Representative Frank McCabe eulogized him as ‘an accomplished author and child welfare reform advocate’.

‘During his years in the custody of DCYF, he endured significant abuse, depravation of education, neglect, and unhealthy living conditions,’ McCabe said in the House Chamber. ‘The challenges he faced throughout those years could have irrevocably changed his life.

‘Instead, those hardships gave him understanding, passion and drive. More than a survivor, Nicholas endured and ultimately overcame those years in the system,’

A ‘memorial’ Twitter accounted purported to be run by ‘Nick’s widow Louise Alahverdian’ appeared to exist to shut down any claims he was alive.

‘More fake news about Nick is released the more the Rhode Island gov & now the FBI prove they tried to silence him,’ said one tweet. ‘Too late. Difference now is he is deceased & I as his wife and 20+ staff can tell his story. He left 7 manuscripts to publish. RI politics will never be the same.’

There is no evidence online that Louise Alahverdian exists, though Alahverdian has been married twice before.

The sex offender, previously convicted of two sex attacks in Ohio in 2008, used the name Arthur Knight when detained by Police Scotland officers, but it is believed he went under at least eight different aliases since going on the run in 2018.

Further details on how Knight had ended up in Scotland, and how long he had been there, have yet to emerge.  

Alahverdian, whose also uses the surname Rossi, fled the US after DNA linked him to a sex attack in Ohio amid reports of similar offences across the country.

According to the Utah County Attorney’s Office, he is accused of fraud and sexual assault charges in at least two states.

An obituary was posted in February 2020 which claimed Alahverdian had died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and that his last words were ‘fear not and run toward the bliss of the sun’.

'At the time of his passing, the room was filled with the sounds of the end credits for the 1997 film “Contact” by composer Alan Silvestri, a film and score which held special meaning for Mr. Alahverdian,' the obituary said

‘At the time of his passing, the room was filled with the sounds of the end credits for the 1997 film “Contact” by composer Alan Silvestri, a film and score which held special meaning for Mr. Alahverdian,’ the obituary said

The obituary claimed he passed away with his wife, family, and two children at his beside. 

‘At the time of his passing, the room was filled with the sounds of the end credits for the 1997 film “Contact” by composer Alan Silvestri, a film and score which held special meaning for Mr. Alahverdian,’ the obituary said. 

The tribute also described him as ‘one of the most vocal, outspoken, and constructive advocates for reforming Rhode Island’s [Department of Children, Youth and Families] and the child care system.’  

A year after his self-proclaimed ‘death’, reports in the US emerged that police did not believe he was dead and were actively hunting him.

He had previously been questioned by the FBI over a credit card fraud allegation.

But he is now subject to extradition proceedings to Utah after DNA led officials to Scotland where he was found in hospital on a ventilator.

In 2008, Alahverdian was convicted of two sexual assault charges in Ohio and in 2017 his DNA from that case was uploaded to a national database.

Alahverdian grew up in foster care in Rhode Island and ‘made it his mission to fight against his mission to fight against what he described as abuses in the state’s childcare system,’ local radio station WRPO 630 said in reporting his death.

Prosecutors claim that in 2020, his DNA matched samples from a sexual assault said to have taken place in Utah and discovered he was suspect in a number of other incidents across America.

He also had a live warrant out for his arrest after failing to register as a sex offender in Rhode Island.

Alahverdian is now the subject of extradition proceedings instigated by Leavitt, who thanked police worldwide including Police Scotland, for finding the wanted man.

He said: ‘Our office is grateful for the significant interagency collaboration of law enforcement to bring this suspect to justice.’

Alahverdian is now the subject of extradition proceedings instigated by the Utah County

Alahverdian is now the subject of extradition proceedings instigated by the Utah County

The many aliases of an American fugitive 

Investigators say  the suspected sex predator went by at least eight names, including: 

  • Nicholas Rossi
  • Nicholas Alahverdian
  • Nicholas Alahverdian Rossi
  • Nicholas Edward Rossi
  • Nicholas Alahverdian-Rossi
  • Nick Alan
  • Nicholas Brown
  • Arthur Brown
  • Arthur Knight

An official Utah County Attorney statement added: ‘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.

‘Through the diligent efforts of SBI Agents, and various investigators in other states and agencies, and in cooperation with the Utah County Attorney’s Office, Mr. Rossi was discovered to be living under an assumed name in Scotland.

‘He has been taken into custody and the Utah County Attorney’s Office is working with federal and international agencies to extradite Mr Rossi back to Utah.’

Rhode Island State Police Major Robert A. Creamer said: ‘He was located in Scotland about a month ago, where he was on a ventilator.’

A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: ‘Officers arrested a 34-year-old man in Glasgow on Monday, December 13, in connection with an international arrest warrant. A report was submitted to the procurator fiscal.’

A Crown Office spokeswoman added: ‘I can confirm that Arthur Knight appeared via video link from QEUH on Thursday 23 December 2021 in relation to extradition proceedings for the US.

‘No future dates have yet been fixed.’

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