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Is Arthur Knight really Nicholas Alahverdian? 'Deeply offensive,' he says

Nicholas Alahverdian (WJAR File Photo)
Nicholas Alahverdian (WJAR File Photo)
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A former Rhode Island man wanted as a fugitive, and who apparently faked his own death, has made international headlines since authorities say he turned up alive in Europe.

He was caught in Scotland in January using the name Arthur Knight, though authorities say it's really Nicholas Alahveridan, a man who made a name for himself in Rhode Island, before we were told he died two years ago.

Now the man known as Arthur Knight is claiming to NBC 10 News that authorities have the wrong person.

"This is movie stuff, stuff you would see in a movie," Rhode Island State Police Maj. Robert Creamer told NBC 10 News.

Alahveridan's story goes back more than 10 years.

"I liked the kid. I thought he was sincere. He had guts," said state Rep. Ray Hull, who was among lawmakers who befriended Alahverdian when he crusaded for reform at the Department of Children, Youth and Families, claiming he had been abused in the system.

"He was one of the key components to it, that made us get up and say, what's going on at DCYF?" Hull told NBC 10 News.

But Alahverdian was also leaving a trail of legal trouble.

In 2018, Rhode Island State Police were looking for him for failing to update his address as a sex offender.

"He was nowhere to be found. He had several aliases, several addresses, several phone numbers, several email addresses, all that led to kind of dead ends," Creamer said.

Creamer said Alahverdian ultimately contacted them, persistently trying to clear his name, saying he was in Ireland.

That case was ultimately resolved.

Then in late 2019, Alahverdian started contacting journalists, like former NBC 10 I-Team reporter Parker Gavigan.

"Said that he was dying," Gavigan said.

Dying of cancer, he said, and pushing Gavigan to report a story that prominent politicians had abused him years ago.

But he had no proof. So, there was no story.

"He wasn't happy with that," Gavigan said.

After claiming he had cancer, Alahveridan was persistent.

Constant phone calls and emails pitching his story to reporters like Gavigan.

A couple months later, in February 2020, "Then I got a call from his wife that he died. I felt sad," Hull said.

"I got contacted by his supposed wife Louise," Gavigan said.

Louise reached out through an "Alahverdian Family Office" email and by phone.

"She wanted an obituary. She wanted glowing comments about her dead husband. And she was aggressive and persistent as he was, which made me think it might be the same people," Gavigan said.

A lengthy obituary that was posted online claimed Alahverdian's last words were "fear not and run toward the bliss of the sun," and went on and on with praise.

But state police knew the walls had been closing in on Alahverdian, with possible fraud charges in Ohio and a rape case in Utah.

The obituary, they say, was full of red flags: no location of death, it claimed he was cremated, it claimed Alahverdian left a wife and children who were never named, though a host of other people were, including reporters like Gavigan.

"In dealing with Mr. Alahverdian you knew his personality down to a T. He was a narcissist, egotistical, self-absorbed. And you could tell the minute you read that obituary he had written that thing," Creamer said.

A funeral was planned at an Armenian church in Providence.

But state police let the priest know of their suspicions so the church called it off, leading to aggressive complaints from Alahverdian's supposed widow.

So then Louise reached out to a Catholic church in East Greenwich to make funeral arrangements.

The priest there told NBC 10 News that he got instructions on wonderful things to say about Alahverdian and grandiose musical requests, but then he got a call from state police telling him they believed he was still alive and overseas.

So, the funeral was called off, though two politicians showed up anyway.

"To us, again, it was a self-absorbed, narcissist person such as Mr. Alahverdian planning his own funeral when he was fully alive," Creamer said.

"Law enforcement was convinced he was that vain enough that he might try to show up at his own funeral," Gavigan added.

About a year later, the Providence Journal first reported the official suspicion that Alahverdian faked his death.

Louise's messages to Gavigan escalated, with comments like, "If Nick faked his death he did an awfully bad job" and "this is very damaging to my husband's legacy."

So, who was Louise?

"We don't believe the wife ever existed," Creamer said. "We think most likely he was using some kind of voice over technology to change his voice to a woman's voice.

And now two years after his supposed death, a sensational story.

It's comical to some degree, but Creamer points to a trail of sexual assault allegations Alahverdian left in his wake in various parts of the country.

"I'm glad they found him. In my opinion he's a dangerous predator," Creamer said.

And the saga continues.

A man identifying himself as Arthur Knight has contacted NBC 10 News several times in recent days after becoming aware of this story.

In a statement sent Thursday, he denies he is Nicholas Alahverdian, and calls the claims that he is an American or a fugitive "deeply offensive" and will fight them in court.

The statement reads in full:

"The false claims that Arthur Knight is an American or a fugitive are deeply offensive. Brought by desperate Utah county prosecutor David Leavitt who has been sanctioned by Utah courts, called to step down by a major Utah police union, and is accused of his former colleagues of unethical prosecutorial behaviour, he is clearly in need of a victory. This will inevitably be another loss for Mr Leavitt. We look forward to defeating this false allegation and mistaken identity in court. -Knight Family"

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