A US fugitive who faked his death to escape rape charge was captured when he went to hospital suffering from severe COVID-19

A US fugitive who faked his death to escape rape charge was captured when he went to hospital suffering from severe COVID-19
Police officers in Glasgow, Scotland.Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
  • Nicholas Rossi, also known as Nicholas Alahverdian and Nicholas Alahverdian Rossi, died in December 2020.
  • It has now come to light that he faked his death, as he was found being treated for COVID-19 in Scotland.

An American who faked his death and fled the United States to avoid sexual assault charges was arrested at a hospital in Glasgow, Scotland, where he was treated for COVID-19.

Nicholas Rossi, who had worked as a children's welfare campaigner in Rhode Island, Sky News reported, was wanted on a charge of rape in Utah in 2008 and an attack in Ohio in 2018.

The Utah rape charge came as part of a review of historical sex assault cases where DNA evidence kits had not been tested, reported the Guardian.

It was widely reported that Rossi, who goes by multiple aliases including Nicholas Alahverdian and Nicholas Alahverdian Rossi, died in 2020 from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and was cremated – two months after a rape allegation was filed against him.

But in reality, he had left the US and was hiding out in Scotland, in the United Kingdom


He was arrested last month in Scotland after being hospitalized with Covid-19 in Glasgow. He was severely ill and needed to be intubated at the Queen Elizabeth university hospital, Sky News said. After he left intensive care, he was arrested.

During his time in Scotland, the 34-year-old used the alias Arthur Knight.

However, the Glasgow hospital was able to match his photographs and DNA to that on the international FBI database, leading to his arrest.

Laura Hamilton, a spokeswoman for the Crown Office, which prosecutes criminal cases in Scotland told Insider that "Arthur Knight" had appeared in a virtual court hearing from Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow on December 23 in connection with the extradition proceedings.

She ended the relationship after he became 'rough'

Rossi has been charged with one count of alleged rape in the attack on a 21-year-old woman on September 13 2008.


According to the Providence Journal, Rossi had briefly dated the woman and had owed her money, but she ended the relationship after he became "more rough."

When she saw Rossi after the relationship ended, with the intention of getting the money he owed her, Rossi violently raped her, she alleged.

The court documents state that Rossi "told her this was her fault because she is 'mentally unstable and too emotional to deal with.'"

Reports say Rossi is also wanted for offending behavior against women in Utah, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Ohio

Living 'off the grid'

The Utah County Attorney's Office refused to say precisely how Alahverdian was tracked down, simply saying it was down to "diligent investigative effort", the Providence Journal reports.


"Investigators 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.

The Attorney's office confirmed that they are now working on extraditing Rossi to Utah.

However, Utah County Attorney David O Leavitt said if Rossi hadn't required medical attention, he would probably still be living "off the grid," Sky News reports.

"People may not know where you are, but with social media, the world is small enough that if anyone sees a picture of you… if you're going to be off the grid, you better stay in your house and never leave, because someone is going to see you," Leavitt told the news outlet.

Rossi was freed on bail in Scotland and put on a nighttime curfew, the Scottish Sun reported on Friday.