PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – A Rhode Island man who authorities suspected faked his own death has been found alive in Scotland.
Nicholas Alahverdian – an outspoken critic of Rhode Island’s child welfare system who alleged he was “tortured and raped” in group homes affiliated with the R.I. Department of Children, Youth and Families – was apparently on the run since 2020 when his wife claimed he had died overseas of cancer.
Rhode Island State Police Maj. Robert Creamer said on Wednesday Alahverdian was found in Scotland after he had been hospitalized with COVID-19, but referred all other questions to the FBI and authorities in Utah, where he has several outstanding warrants.
A spokesperson for the FBI did not immediately return a call for comment. Alahverdian’s reemergence was first reported by The Providence Journal.
Sherrie Hall Everett, a spokesperson for the Utah County Attorney’s office, said Alahverdian is a suspect in a 2008 sexual assault case. In a news release, the county prosecutor’s office said Alahverdian – who was going by Nicholas Rossi at the time – was a DNA match to the 2008 case and another sexual assault investigation in Ohio.
“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,” Hall Everett said. “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.”
Alahverdian moved out of the country with his wife and two children in 2016. He told people he had been diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Alahverdian filed a federal lawsuit in 2011, alleging he was sexually assaulted by group home residents and employees as he said DCYF “shuffled” him through several Rhode Island, Florida and Nebraska facilities.
The lawsuit was settled in 2013, but the details were not disclosed.
Walt Buteau contributed to this report.