Nicholas Alahverdian, a fugitive who used multiple aliases and faked his death to avoid fraud and sexual assault charges in Utah and Ohio, was found alive in Scotland.
He was found in Scotland over a month ago in a hospital on a ventilator. It was COVID-19. The New York Times says he was operating under Arthur Knight while overseas.
The 34-year-old was arrested in Glasgow, a city in Scotland, on Monday, Dec. 13. Utah County Attorney’s office said that DNA evidence from a previous arrest matched Alahverdian to a sexual assault case under the suspect’s name Nicholas Rossi, another alias Alahverdian used in his schemes.
Initially, a DNA profile was submitted in 2017 for the Sex Assault Kit Initiative. However, in 2018, the Utah sexual assault DNA profile matched a sexual assault case in Ohio. The name also was Nicholas Rossi.
Utah County Attorney David Leavitt described the case as a “cold case” because the suspect did a “good job” hiding and creating new identities. Alahverdian faked his death and produced a fake obituary to continue the plot.
The obituary pronounced the Rhode Island native dead at 32, saying he died from cancer, “non-Hodgkin lymphoma.”
Non-Hodgkin lymphoma starts in the lymphatic system. It’s a condition in the body that produces too many abnormal white blood cells. Symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, fever, belly and chest pain.
The fake obituary read, “Mr. Alahverdian was a devout Roman Catholic. In keeping with Mr. Alahverdian’s wishes, his earthly remains were cremated with his ashes scattered at sea.” It also included that his wife and two children were beside his bedside with him when he passed away. However, he owes his ex-wife, Kathryn Heckendorn, over $60,000. He is $200,000 in debt.
The Providence Journal reports that he faced fraud and extortion complaints after allegedly acquiring 22 credit cards and loans in the name of his former foster mother’s husband.
Attorney Leavitt says, “Our office is grateful for the significant interagency collaboration of law enforcement to bring this suspect to justice. We credit Utah’s Sexual Assault Kit Initiative grant funded through the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Assistance as playing a significant role in testing backlogged kits and ultimately identifying the suspect.”