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Former Rhode Island man accused of faking his death held without bail in Scotland

Nicholas Alahverdian is seen being arrested -- again -- after failing to show up at a hearing, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. (Michael Schofield/The Scottish Sun)
Nicholas Alahverdian is seen being arrested -- again -- after failing to show up at a hearing, Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022. (Michael Schofield/The Scottish Sun)
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Nicholas Alahverdian, a former Rhode Island man who is accused of faking his own death, was ordered held without bail during a court appearance on Friday in Scotland.

Alahverdian appeared in court in a wheelchair, according to the Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

"During the court hearing, he kept saying things like, 'That's not true' and ‘Oh my god'," said Gordon Tait, chief reporter for The Scottish Sun. "He's point-blank refusing to admit that he's Nicholas Rossi."

Rossi is one of Alahverdian’s more than a dozen aliases.

A day before his Friday appearance in court, Alahverdian was arrested at his home after skipping a scheduled hearing.

"He was brought out with a blanket over his head, wearing his pajamas, in a wheelchair, attached to an oxygen tube and a canister as well," said Tait. "He was eventually loaded into a police van."

While battling a case of COVID-19, Alahverdian was previously released on bail following his initial arrest in Scotland last month on the U.S. charges. In a Zoom interview with NBC 10, Tait said some of Alahverdian’s release conditions included a curfew and daily check-ups by police.

The journalist said earlier this week, officers made a surprising find.

"When the police had turned up at his house on Tuesday, he was supposed to be wearing his oxygen mask attached to the canister," said Tait. "But they pulled his duvet back and while he did have the mask on, it wasn’t attached to the canister. So, he was breathing unaided."

Sheriff Alistar Noble held Alahverdian without bail Friday after prosecutors described him as being a "significant flight risk."

"How he ended up in the U.K., and in Scotland, we honestly don't know," said Tait.

Alahverdian is due back in the Scotland court on Feb. 10 for a pre-extradition hearing, according to a Scotland court clerk.

It's unclear when he'll eventually be brought back to the United States to face the Utah charges.

Alahverdian was a longtime child welfare reform advocate in Rhode Island.

On March 3, 2020, a statement claiming to be from the family of Alahverdian said he died after battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

In December, however, Alahverdian was found in a Scottish hospital while being treated for COVID-19, according to the Edinburgh Sheriff Court.

His DNA was later logged in an international database used by law enforcement that identified him as the suspect in the Utah case, the Utah County Attorney has told NBC 10.

Former state Rep. Brian Coogan said he met Alahverdian in 2000 and later almost adopted the then-teenager.

"The chief judge, the late judge, asked me not to adopt this kid -- that something was wrong and that I should not adopt him," Coogan said. "Tons of red flags. He would come up to the state house and claim that people abused him, assaulted him -- crying wolf all the time. There was a point where the reps, myself included, stopped believing him actually."

Coogan said he last saw Alahverdian about three years ago in East Providence.

"I said, 'Nick, you're in a lot of trouble. People are looking for you'," he said.

Coogan said shortly after that, Alahverdian disappeared.

"He's a con artist, he's a conman is what he is," Coogan said.

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