Scottish prosecutor says Nick Alahverdian was identified in the hospital by his tattoos

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When Pawtucket police arrested Nicholas Alahverdian in 2010 for domestic assault of a woman he was living with, they noted in their report his tattoos: a bar code on his left bicep, a bird wing on his right.

On Friday in a Scottish courtroom, with Alahverdian sitting nearby in a wheelchair and denying he was the international fugitive who had faked his death in Rhode Island in 2020, a prosecutor said police and staff at a Glasgow hospital had identified Alahverdian through photographs of his tattoos.

At the hearing in Edinburgh, in which Alahverdian, 34, had his bail revoked, the prosecutor Jennifer Johnston told Sheriff Alistair Noble that Alahverdian also had scarring on one arm “which is believed to have come from the attempted removal of tattoos.”

More: Pawtucket police reports detail allegations by women against Nick Alahverdian

Nicholas Alahverdian, pictured in 2011.
Nicholas Alahverdian, pictured in 2011.

Authorities believe Alahverdian faked his death to avoid prosecution for financial fraud in Ohio and a rape charge in Utah.

According to the Edinburgh Courts Press Services, which covered Friday’s bail hearing, Johnston referred to Alahverdian as Rossi, the surname he used prior to taking his father’s name about a decade ago.

In arguing that he posed a significant flight risk, the prosecutor said Alahverdian had used as many as 16 aliases, including the name Arthur Knight when he was admitted last month to Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow for urgent treatment for COVID-19.

More: A woman in Ohio met Nick Alahverdian for lunch. Then he sexually assaulted her.

Health care workers placed him on a ventilator, and he was expected to remain in the hospital for several weeks, Johnston said.

But once authorities arrested him at the hospital on Dec. 13 on a charge of rape out of Utah, “Mr. Rossi made efforts to leave the hospital,” Johnston said.

He called a private ambulance company and offered them 100 pounds (about $135) to take him away, and also tried to arrange for a supply of oxygen. The efforts were made prior to Alahverdian’s Dec. 23 arraignment, she said.

Investigators had also found that Alahverdian had an Irish driver’s license in the name of Nicholas Brown, as well as a marriage certificate in that name.

More: Six things to know about Nicholas Alahverdian, the RI man who apparently faked his death

Alahverdian, who is wanted in Ohio on charges he scammed his former foster father — allegedly running up some $200,000 in debts from credits cards he took out in his name — was initially granted bail last month.

But when he missed a court hearing Thursday, authorities rearrested him. Video of the arrest from the Scottish Sun showed officers struggling to get Alahverdian and his wheelchair down a ramp set up over his apartment steps and into a van.

Alahverdian, 34, was once a familiar presence at the Rhode Island State House, where he presented himself as a survivor of Rhode Island’s broken child welfare system.

The Department of Children, Youth and Families, he testified before lawmakers, used a system of night-to-night and out-of-state placement of foster children like himself that left them vulnerable to sexual and physical abuse.

He touted his DCYF advocacy to reporters in January 2020 when he spread the false story that he was dying of cancer and deserving of immediate coverage.

Weeks later, on Feb. 29, the “Office of Nicholas Alahverdian” and a woman claiming to be his wife announced his death — with appeals that reporters and state politicians pay online tributes to the “warrior” of reform and attend upcoming memorial services.

It was all a hoax.

Before COVID revealed him, Alahverdian had been living in the residential section of Glasgow known as the Woodlands, popular with young professionals and college students.

The Times of London reported Friday that Alahverdian posed as a “dapper university professor” partial to bow ties and who spoke with “a cut-glass English accent.”

He's now being held in a Scottish prison pending a preliminary extradition hearing next month.

Email Tom Mooney at tmooney@providencejournal.com

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Scottish prosecutor: Tattoos gave away RI fugitive Nick Alahverdian

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