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RI CRIME

Rhode Island con artist Nicholas Alahverdian under arrest in Scotland, faces extradition

A month after being located in a Scotland hospital, Nicholas Alahverdian— also known as Nicholas Rossi, Arthur Knight, and a variety of other names — is heading to court

Nicholas Alahverdian.John Freidah/USA TODAY NETWORK

PROVIDENCE — A former Rhode Island man who faked his own death to avoid criminal charges in Utah couldn’t evade COVID-19.

Now, a month after being located on a ventilator in a Scotland hospital, the man known as Nicholas Alahverdian, Nicholas Rossi, Arthur Knight, and a variety of other names is heading to court.

The Utah County Attorney’s Office said that the Edinburgh Sheriff Court granted a warrant for the arrest of Alahverdian Thursday morning in connection with a 2008 sexual assault case. He was apprehended in Scotland and is due to appear at court on Friday after skipping a court date Thursday. Utah prosecutors said his bail has been revoked.

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“We again express our gratitude to the law enforcement agencies for their diligent efforts in this matter to bring this individual to justice,” David Leavitt, Utah county attorney, said in a prepared statement.

Alahverdian, 34, was supposed to be dead. He sent out a press release in early 2020 saying he was dying of late-stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma and another press release followed announcing his death on Feb. 29, 2020. The Boston Globe received numerous calls and e-mails from a woman claiming to be his widow, “Louise,” insisting on coverage to recognize his legacy seeking child welfare reform in Rhode Island.

In reality, he was alive and, authorities say, running from prosecution.

In 2018, Utah authorities going through backlogged rape kits found that DNA from a rape kit from 2008 matched another sexual assault case in Ohio. Through their investigation, the Utah County Attorney’s Office said, agents “discovered that Nicholas Rossi was a suspect in a number of similar offenses in Utah and throughout the United States after the 2008 incident.”

He was accused of fraud in Ohio, where he allegedly ran up hundreds of thousands of dollars under someone else’s name.

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The man known in Rhode Island as Alahverdian, a former state legislative page and aide, with grueling stories about abuse while in the care of the state Department of Children, Youth and Families, is charged by Utah as Nicholas Rossi, a suspect of sexual assaults.


Amanda Milkovits can be reached at amanda.milkovits@globe.com. Follow her @AmandaMilkovits.