A Massapequa man was sentenced to a year in prison Tuesday after helping his father fake his own death off Jones Beach as part of an insurance scam.
According to Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice’s office, Jonathan Roth, 23, pleaded guilty in March of 2013 to third-degree falsely reporting an incident (an A misdemeanor). He’s already served five months in jail since the arrest.
On July 28, 2012, Roth called 911 and reported his father Raymond missing off the waters of Jones Beach. Nassau Police sent its elite bureau of special operations, marine unit and a helicopter to search. They were joined by resources as far away as Boston, bay constables from the towns of Hempstead and Oyster Bay, and New York State Police. The search lasted several days.
During the search, Raymond Roth was found alive and well and on his way to an Orlando timeshare. Roth hoped that his wife and son could collect $410,000 in life insurance benefits while he started over in Orlando. On Aug. 1, 2012, Jonathan Roth’s stepmother saw emails from Raymond and Jonathan on the scam, and cops were notified.
“By helping his father in this scheme, Mr. Roth wasted the precious time and resources of first responders tasked with keeping thousands safe during the busy summer season,” Rice said. “As the result of his actions, innocent people could have lost their lives or sustained serious injury due to the greedy and deceitful actions of another.”
Raymond Roth was pulled over by police in South Carolina on Aug. 2, 2012, and he was identified from his driver’s license. Raymond Roth pleaded guilty on March 21, 2013 to fourth-degree conspiracy and agreed to pay restitution of $27,445 to the United States Coast Guard and $9,109 to the Nassau County Police Department for costs incurred during rescue efforts. He is awaiting sentencing, and faces a maximum sentence of 1-1/3 to 4 years in prison.
Raymond Roth was also arrested on March 27, 2013 after he allegedly approached a woman in Freeport on March 21, 2013, telling her that he was a police officer and that he would arrest her if she didn’t go with him. He then followed the woman into a check cashing business and demanded employees open a security door. They refused and called police.
Roth’s trial began on March 4 on the following grand jury charges: second-degree attempted kidnapping (a C violent felony), second-degree attempted unlawful imprisonment (a B misdemeanor), first-degree attempted coercion (an E felony), third-degree attempted burglary (an E felony), first-degree criminal impersonation (an E felony), and second-degree criminal impersonation (an A misdemeanor). If convicted of the top charge, he faces a maximum sentence of 3-1/2 to 15 years in prison.