CRIME

Accused rapist who faked death re-arrested in Scotland, prosecutor says

Jan 20, 2022, 3:10 PM
scotland rapist courthouse...
FILE: Edinburgh Sheriff Court is pictured in Edinburgh, Scotland. Authorities there arrested Nicholas Alahverdian, who faces rape charges in Ohio and Utah. (Photo by Duncan McGlynn /Getty Images)
(Photo by Duncan McGlynn /Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah — A suspected rapist, wanted both in Utah and Ohio and accused of faking his own death, is back in custody in Scotland, according to the Utah County Attorney’s office.

Related: Accused US rapist found on a ventilator in Scotland under assumed name

Criminal background

Nicholas Alahverdian, alias Nicholas Rossi, came to the attention of Utah authorities in 2018. A year earlier, authorities submitted a rape kit to the Utah State Crime Lab as part of the Utah Sexual Assault Kit Initiative.

Then, in 2018, the test results came back as a match for Rossi/Alahverdian. That led to the filing of criminal charges in the fall of 2020, charges that remained sealed until earlier this month. 

“In researching Nicholas Rossi, (investigators) located police reports involving criminal cases of sex assault, harassment, and possible kidnapping from 2007 through 2019. The police reports were obtained from Rhode Island, Ohio, Utah and Massachusetts,” the charging documents read.

According to the Utah County Attorney’s office, Alahverdian allegedly used as many as eight aliases. 

A pattern of behavior and a faked death

In researching the case, investigators discovered what they called a “consistent pattern of behavior.” Specifically, in cases from multiple jurisdictions, the charging documents allege a tendency to meet a romantic interest online, make contact, threaten to hurt himself, then tell police the woman was the aggressor. 

In the Utah case, police said Alahverdian met a 21-year-old woman on MySpace in 2008 while going by the alias Nicholas Rossi. The unnamed woman said he sexually assaulted her in his apartment. 

Also in 2008, Alahverdian was convicted on two sex-related charges after an encounter with a fellow student in a stairwell at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, according to court documents, The Providence Journal reported Jan. 14.

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, according to a report Thursday in The Daily Mail.

“Dead” suspected rapist appears in Scotland

The story gets stranger from there. WPRI in Providence reported that Alahverdian, who moved out of the country with his wife and two kids in 2016, faked his own death. His wife claimed he died overseas, from cancer, in 2020. 

“Nicholas Alahverdian’s battle for life ended on February 29, 2020,” according to his online obituary. which states: “Mr. Alahverdian died two months after going public with his diagnosis of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He was in his 32nd year.”

Utah County Attorney David Leavitt joined KSL NewsRadio’s Dave & Dujanovic to discuss the developments. He says he never believed Alahverdian died. 

“We charged him with the crime because we knew he was alive,” he said on the program.

Ultimately, that led to the discovery of a hospital patient using the name Arthur Knight in Scotland, receiving treatment for COVID-19. Eventually, authorities were able to determine the patient’s true identity: Nicholas Alahverdian. 

“This man in Scotland was a registered sex offender in Ohio, so the database had his DNA,” Leavitt said. “Authorities here in Utah knew where he was to begin with; we just were looking for the opportunity and the means to be able to get him. We’ll have to demonstrate the DNA proof in the extradition process, presumably in Scotland.”

Also, Leavitt said Scottish hospital staff verified Alahverdian’s identity by comparing their patient to a photo of the suspect submitted by investigators.

Re-arrested, likely to be extradited 

Thursday, Leavitt confirmed Alahverdian’s re-arrest in Scotland. He is scheduled to appear in court there on Friday. 

“We again express our gratitude to the law enforcement agencies for their diligent efforts in this matter to bring this individual to justice. We do not comment on extradition proceedings or on the details of the work done in the course of this ongoing investigation,” said Leavitt in a statement released to KSL.

The office continues to look for more potential victims. 

“Any person who may be a victim of a crime by Mr. Rossi is encouraged to reach out to SAKI Agents with the State Bureau of Investigation, or the Utah County Attorney’s Office,” the office stated.

The Utah State Bureau of Investigation can be contacted at 801-965-4747, and the Utah County Attorney’s Office at 801-851-8026. 

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard on weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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Accused rapist who faked death re-arrested in Scotland, prosecutor says