Man who faked death to evade U.S. sex assault charges found alive

A Rhode Island man faked his death to evade sexual assault charges before he was found alive — suffering from Covid-19 — and arrested in Scotland, authorities said Thursday.

Nicholas Rossi, who also goes by aliases Nicholas Alahverdian and Nicholas Alahverdian Rossi, is wanted in connection with an alleged 2008 sex assault in Orem, Utah, and a 2018 attack in Ohio, according to a statement by the Utah County Attorney’s Office.

He’s been arrested using another alias, Arthur Knight, at a Glasgow hospitaland now being watched by police, officials Utah said.

Utah County Attorney David O. Leavitt admitted that had Rossi not contracted Covid and needed medical care, he’d still probably be living “off the grid” successfully.

“It’s a lot more difficult than people imagine,” Leavitt told NBC News on Thursday.

“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.”

Rossi “fled the country to avoid prosecution” and “attempted to lead investigators and state legislators in other states to believe that he was deceased,” according to a statement by Utah prosecutors.

Various news outlets in 2020 cited the memorial website, EverLoved.com, in reporting that Rossi had died on Feb. 29 from non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

“Mr. Rossi was discovered to be living under an assumed name in Scotland,” the Utah County Attorney’s Office 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. “

Leavitt thanked Orem police and his office’sinvestigators using the latest DNA technology to follow up on the cold 2008 case.

“Our hats are off to the people who stuck with this and made it happen,” Leavitt said. “There was lots of hard work behind the scenes.”

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A Rhode Island lawyer who had previously represented Rossi could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday. It wasn’t immediately clear on Thursday if Rossi had hired a new attorney to possibly fight extradition.

Utah prosecutors claim they have DNA and fingerprint evidence that’ll be enough to win Rossi’s extradition.

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