Long Island man who faked death gets 2 to 7 years, must pay for search

April 24, 2014 9:02:38 AM PDT
The man who admitted faking his own death at Jones Beach must repay the $36,500 it cost to conduct a pointless search of the Atlantic Ocean for him.

Raymond Roth was sentenced to 2 1/3 years to seven years in prison Thursday in Mineola. He pleaded guilty to fourth-degree conspiracy for the fake drowning off of Jones Beach, which he did in order to to cash in on a life insurance policy.

Roth told Judge Tammy Robbins that he takes full responsibility for his actions.

"You'll never see me again," Roth said.

Roth's son, Jonathan Roth, was sentenced to a year in jail for his role in falsely reporting that his father had drowned while swimming in their scheme to collect $400,000. Roth said he reconciled with his son at jail, where there are both inmates.

Police marine units, helicopters and officers searched for Raymond Roth for days with no results. A relative later reported he was in Florida.

He is also facing additional time for pretending to be a police officer and trying to lure a woman into his van in Freeport.

Roth was convicted last month of criminal impersonation, attempted burglary and attempted unlawful imprisonment, but he was cleared of attempted kidnapping and attempted coercion.

The defense attorney, Brian Davis, had argued that Roth thought the woman he confronted was a prostitute but conceded that Roth was guilty of claiming to be a police officer when he tried to force her into his van. He described Roth's actions as "a lot of big-mouth bravado from somebody who really wasn't in control of all his faculties."

"He's got to do his time," Davis said. "When he gets out we really have to find the appropriate treatment for him. He really has to be under the care of a real top-notch psychiatrist."

Roth also pleaded guilty to violating an order of protection obtained by his estranged wife. She notified authorities that Roth may have faked his drowning after discovering emails written between Roth and his son plotting the ruse.

Davis said Roth has a variety of problems.

"It's part mental issues and also part substance abuse," he said. "He cannot drink alcohol. He cannot take illicit substances. And if he's going to drink, he's going to continue to get into trouble."