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

·4 min read

The Rhode Island man who state and federal law-enforcement officials suspect faked his own death in 2020, Nick Alahverdian, was found in December 2021 on a ventilator, sick with COVID-19, in a Scottish hospital.

Alahverdian was born on July 11, 1987, according to the obituary published after his reported Feb. 29, 2020 death. Alahverdian's supposed death was announced by a woman claiming to be his wife and she said his remains were cremated and his ashes buried at sea.

Police say he lived in Ohio and Utah under the name of Nicholas Rossi.

In Rhode Island, he was a critic of the child welfare system and advocated reforms. Alahverdian made claims that he had been abused as a boy by the state child welfare system, including being placed out-of-state and in night-to-night foster homes. His story drew the sympathy of many lawmakers and became the impetus for legislative reforms.

The latest: Nick Alahverdian, suspected of faking his death, found in Scotland, say police

Here's what we know so far:

FBI fraud investigation

The FBI was looking into a fraud complaint filed against Alahverdian in Ohio, said Jeffrey Pine, a lawyer who had recently represented him.

His former foster mother in Ohio, Sharon Lane, told The Journal that Alahverdian had fraudulently obtained 22 credit cards and loans under her husband’s name and ran up debts totaling almost $200,000.

Todd Lindgren, an FBI spokesman in Cincinnati, would not confirm or deny the existence of “a potential investigation.”

'A dangerous mind': News of Nick Alahverdian's fake death shocks those who took him in

Why did people think Alahverdian faked his death?

Just two months after Alahverdian informed reporters at various media outlets that he had late-stage non-Hodgkin lymphoma and had weeks to live, his "widow" announced his death. An email from the “Alahverdian Family Office” saying he had died of cancer was widely circulated.

Jeffrey Pine, who successfully represented Alahverdian against a claim that he failed to register as a sex offender, said early last year that the timing of events — learning about the FBI’s inquiry, Alahverdian’s sudden announcement of his terminal illness, and then his swift death — left questions in his mind.

Jeffrey Pine, a former Rhode Island attorney general who once represented Nicholas Alahverdian, says "of course" he believes it's possible that he is still alive.
Jeffrey Pine, a former Rhode Island attorney general who once represented Nicholas Alahverdian, says "of course" he believes it's possible that he is still alive.

"The next thing I know he gets very, very sick with cancer and dies within weeks. Do I think it’s possible he’s alive? Of course I do.”

More from January 2021 in this case: He was reported dead, but the state police kept looking for Nick Alahverdian

Alahverdian is a convicted sex offender in the state of Ohio

Alahverdian was convicted in 2008 on two sex-related charges after an encounter with a fellow student in a stairwell at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, according to court documents.

Alahverdian had been living abroad

Alahverdian had told reporters he and his family had been living out of the country for the last few years because of threats they had received over his work to improve the Department of Children, Youth and Families.

Alahverdian once told a Journal reporter they were living in Quebec.

State Rep. Raymond Hull said he thought Alahverdian's "widow" had told him they were living in Ireland or Germany.

“The person purporting to be [Alahverdian’s] wife told me they were living in Switzerland,” said Father Bernard Healey. “This person,” Father Healey said, requested a memorial Mass for Alahverdian at Our Lady of Mercy, in East Greenwich

Pine, who represented Alahverdian toward the end of 2019, said Alahverdian was living in Ireland prior to his client’s announced death.

More from February 2021 in this case: If Nick Alahverdian isn't dead as some believe, who's the widow 'Louise'?

DNA tests see past the name, Nicholas Rossi

Alahverdian was convicted in 2008 on two sex-related charges after an encounter with a fellow student in a stairwell at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, according to court documents.

DNA evidence in that case, however, was not entered in a national DNA database until 2017. A year later, DNA from a recent Utah sexual assault came back as a match in Alahverdian’s 2008 case, said Utah’s County Attorney’s Office.

Utah officials told The Journal on Wednesday that DNA evidence linked Alahverdian to a 2018 sexual-assault case there. At the time Alahverdian was using the alias Nicholas Rossi.

Through their investigation, the Utah County Attorney’s Office said, agents “discovered that Nicholas Rossi was a suspect in a number of similar offenses in Utah and throughout the United States after [an initial] 2008 incident.”

Here's what Alahverdian wrote in an op-ed for The Providence Journal in 2017

Alahverdian was a critic of Rhode Island's child welfare program and had pushed lawmakers to support reforms.

In 2017 he wrote an opinion piece for the Providence Journal about DCYF workers needing help to protect children.

Reporting from previous Providence Journal articles were used in this article.

This article originally appeared on The Providence Journal: Who is Nick Alahverdian? 6 things to know about the Rhode Island man

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