MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced the sentencing today of a Massapequa man for his involvement in a scheme to defraud a company on a life insurance policy of $410,000 by helping his father fake his own death in the ocean off Jones Beach in July 2012.
Jonathan Roth, 23, of Massapequa, pleaded guilty in March 2013 to Falsely Reporting an Incident in the 3rd degree (an A misdemeanor). Nassau County Court Judge Tammy Robbins sentenced Roth today to one year in jail. Roth has already served five months in jail since his arrest.
“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,” DA 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.”
DA Rice said that on July 28, 2012, Jonathan Roth called 911 and reported his father, Raymond Roth, missing in the waters off Jones Beach. The NCPD dispatched its elite Bureau of Special Operations, its marine unit, and a helicopter. They were joined in their rescue efforts by resources from as far away as Boston, Bay Constables from the towns of Hempstead and Oyster Bay, and the New York State Park Police. The search continued into the night and lasted several days.
During the search, however, Raymond Roth was actually alive and well and on his way to his timeshare in Orlando. Roth believed that by faking his death, his son and wife would be able to collect at least $410,000 in life insurance benefits, and that he could make a new life for himself in Florida.
On Aug. 1, 2012, Jonathan Roth’s stepmother discovered emails between her husband and stepson discussing details of Raymond Roth’s plan to fake his own death. New York State Park Police were then notified of these emails.
Raymond Roth was pulled over by police in South Carolina on Aug. 2, 2012. Roth was identified by his driver’s license, which he had removed from his wallet before disappearing from Jones Beach on July 28, 2012, and had used to check into the Orlando timeshare.
Raymond Roth pleaded guilty on March 21, 2013 to Conspiracy in the Fourth Degree, and agreed to pay restitution to the United States Coast Guard in the amount of $27,445 and the Nassau County Police Department in the amount of $9,109 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 in a case in which he alleged to have 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 get into his vehicle. He then followed the woman into a check cashing business and demanded employees open a security door. The employees refused to open the door and called police.
Raymond Roth goes to trial on March 4 on the following grand jury charges: Attempted Kidnapping in the 2nd Degree (a C violent felony), Attempted Unlawful Imprisonment in the 2nd Degree (a B misdemeanor), Attempted Coercion in the 1st Degree (an E felony), Attempted Burglary in the 3rd Degree (an E felony), Criminal Impersonation in the 1st Degree (an E felony), and Criminal Impersonation in the 2nd Degree (an A misdemeanor). If convicted of the top charge, he faces a maximum sentence of 3-1/2 to 15 years in prison.
Assistant District Attorney Everett Witherell of the Major Offense Bureau is prosecuting the case for DA Rice’s office. Jonathan Roth is represented by Joey Jackson, Esq. Raymond Roth is represented by Brian Davis, Esq.
Charges are merely accusations and defendants are considered innocent until and unless found guilty.