A fugitive who faked his own death to escape charges in the US was caught when he was admitted to a hospital in Scotland suffering from Covid.
Nicholas Alahverdian, 34, fled his native America in 2018 as DNA linked him to a sex attack and fraud in two states.
An obit from February 2020 claimed Alahverdian, who also uses the surname Rossi, died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma, leading to tributes from local politicians and officials.
But a year later police said they did not believe he was dead.
Alahverdian was finally tracked down at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow where he had used the alias, Arthur Knight.
He is now subject to extradition proceedings to Utah after DNA led officials to Scotland where he was found struggling for breath on a ventilator.
A tribute ran after his ‘death’, which even included his last words
In 2008, Alahverdian was convicted of two sexual assault charges in Ohio and in 2017 his DNA from that case was uploaded to a national database.
Prosecutors claim that in 2020, his DNA matched samples from a sexual assault said to have taken place in Utah and discovered he was suspect in a number of other incidents across America.
Utah County Attorney David Leavitt thanked police worldwide, including Police Scotland, for finding the wanted man.
An official Utah County Attorney statement said: “Investigators also learned that Nicholas Rossi had fled the country to avoid prosecution in Ohio and attempted to lead investigators and state legislators in other states to believe that he was deceased.
“Through the diligent efforts of SBI Agents, and various investigators in other states and agencies, and in cooperation with the Utah County Attorney’s Office, Mr Rossi was discovered to be living under an assumed name in Scotland.
“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.”
Rhode Island State Police Major Robert A. Creamer said: “He was located in Scotland about a month ago, where he was on a ventilator.”
A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “Officers arrested a 34-year-old man in Glasgow on Monday, December 13, in connection with an international arrest warrant.
“A report was submitted to the procurator fiscal.”
A Crown Office spokeswoman said: “I can confirm that Arthur Knight appeared via video link from QEUH on Thursday 23 December 2021 in relation to extradition proceedings for the US.
“No future dates have yet been fixed.”