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Stranger than Fiction: Fugitive Who Faked Own Death To Be Extradited To U.S.

By Belal Awad · August 4, 2023

In brief…

  • Nicholas Rossi, a U.S. fugitive and convicted sex offender, can be extradited from Scotland to Utah to face rape charges.
  • Rossi allegedly faked his own death in Rhode Island and fled to Scotland, assuming a false identity as Arthur Knight, an Irish-born orphan.
  • His deception was exposed when he was recognized and arrested at a Glasgow hospital while being treated for Covid-19.
  • Previously known as Nick Alahverdian, a child welfare campaigner from Rhode Island, Rossi had fooled politicians and media with news of his supposed death until he was caught.
Fugitive Nicholas Rossi claimed he was tattoed while unconscious so he could be framed for crimes he didn't commit. Scottish officials won't buy the tall tale.  Pawtucket Police Department

Convicted sex offender Nicholas Rossi, a fugitive from the United States, can be extradited from Scotland back to the U.S., a Scottish court has ruled. Rossi allegedly faked his own death in Rhode Island, then fled to Scotland where he took on a false identity. He has been making international headlines with his odd-ball, stranger-than-fiction story ever since.

The deception was first exposed when Rossi was recognized in 2021 while being treated for Covid-19 in in a Glasgow Hospital. He was subsequently arrested. He claimed to be an Irish orphan named Arthur Knight, but a court ruled that he was indeed Nicholas Rossi, the man wanted for rape by U.S. prosecutors in Salt Lake County and Utah County, Utah. His case quickly gained international attention, with some comparing it to a Catch-Me-If-You-Can-type film due to its bizarre trajectory, further confounded by Rossi’s strange habit of popping up in interviews with UK and US media.

In Rhode Island, Rossi was known as Nick Alahverdian, a child welfare campaigner, and when news of his supposed death reached politicians, some even paid public tribute to him. An online obituary stated that Alahverdian had been cremated and his ashes scattered at sea. This later proved to be false, however. Rossi, a convicted sex offender in Ohio, had fled to the UK and assumed the identity of Arthur Knight, an Irish-born orphan, in order to escape prosecution.

His game of cat and mouse finally came to an end when hospital staff in Glasgow recognized him from an Interpol wanted notice. Rossi continued to insist he was not Rossi, claiming he was given identical tattoos to Rossi’s while unconscious in the Covid ward. Those claims were quickly dismissed in court.

Scottish officials are expected to order Rossi’s extradition within the next two months.