Nicholas Rossi leaves court after an extradition hearing, in Edinburgh, July 12, 2022. Rossi, accused of faking his death to avoid a rape charge in Utah, has been extradited from Scotland to the United States, media reported British media outlets on Friday. (Andrew Milligan, PA via AP)
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LONDON – An American fugitive known as Nicholas Rossi, accused of faking his own death to avoid a rape charge in Utah, has been extradited to the United States, British media reported on Friday.
Rossi, 36, whose legal name is Nicholas Alahverdian, is accused of sexually assaulting an ex-girlfriend in Orem in 2008, according to the Utah County Prosecutor’s Office. He also faces multiple complaints against him in Rhode Island for alleged domestic violence.
Responding to an Associated Press investigation into reports that Rossi had been returned to the United States, Police Scotland would only confirm that it helped other police agencies extradite a 36-year-old man. It was not immediately clear when Rossi left Scotland or where he was stationed.
Rossi’s flight from the law took a strange turn when he was arrested in December 2021 after being recognized by someone in a Glasgow hospital while being treated for COVID-19. He insisted that he was an Irish orphan named Arthur Knight and that he had never set foot on American soil.
The man had said authorities set him up and took his fingerprints while he was in a coma so they could connect him to Rossi. He repeatedly appeared in court in a wheelchair, wearing an oxygen mask and speaking with an unconvincing British accent.
After protracted court battleJudge Norman McFadyen at Edinburgh Sheriff Court ruled in August that the eTradition could advance. The judge called Rossi “as dishonest and deceitful as he was evasive and manipulative.”
McFadyen dismissed his claims of mistaken identity as “implausible” and “fanciful.” The judge said Rossi presented unreliable evidence and was not “prepared to accept any factual statement made by him unless it was independently supported.”
Rossi lost an appeal in December.
Rossi, who grew up in foster care in Rhode Island, made a name for himself there as a critic of the state Department of Children, Youth and Families.
Four years ago, he told Rhode Island media that he had late-stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma and had weeks to live. An obituary posted online stated that he died on February 29, 2020.
About a year later, Rhode Island State Police, Alahverdian’s former attorney and his former adoptive family questioned whether he was dead.
Rhode Island authorities have said Alahverdian is wanted there for failing to register as a sex offender, although his former attorney there, Jeffrey Pine, told the AP earlier this year that the charge was dropped when he left the state. The FBI has said he also faces fraud charges in Ohio, where he was convicted of sex-related charges in 2008.
Police in England said they were also investigating and trying to interview Rossi in relation to a previous rape allegation made in April 2022 in the town of Chelmsford.