Long Island man who aided dad's fake death gets 1 year in prison

March 4, 2014 9:06:01 AM PST
The Long Island man who admitted helping fake his father's drowning at Jones Beach in an insurance scam was sentenced to one year in prison Tuesday.

Twenty-three-year-old Jonathan Roth, of Massapequa, has already served five months since his arrest.

He was originally supposed to get little to no jail time for helping Raymond Roth fake his death in 2012, but that was before he failed to show up for court in September and was picked up in Ohio and put in jail.

Jonathan Roth pleaded guilty in March 2013 to third-degree falsely reporting an incident.

"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," Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen 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."

Court documents show Jonathan Roth had several warrants pending for unrelated harassment charges involving a girlfriend for an incident on September 2, 2013, in which he allegedly called the woman 150 times, in violation of an order of protection. That order was issued in January after he police said he jumped on the woman's car and banged on her windshield.

The spokesman said there also were complaints of harassment by the woman against Jonathan Roth in March and September 2012.

On July 28, 2012, Jonathan Roth called 911 and reported his father 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 August 2, 2012, and identified by his driver's license, which he had used to check into the Orlando timeshare.

Raymond Roth pleaded guilty on March 21, 2013 to fourth-degree conspiracy 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 her into a check cashing business and demanded employees open a security door. The employees refused to open the door and called police.

Raymond Roth's trial also began Tuesday, the same day his son was sentenced.