A judge returned a mixed verdict Friday in the case of a Long Island man – who made an international splash after faking his drowning death in an insurance scam – after authorities had argued he impersonated a cop and tried to kidnap a woman, Nassau County prosecutors said March 7.
Raymond Roth, 49, of Massapequa, was acquitted Friday of attempted kidnapping and attempted coercion charges after a trial at the Nassau County Court. After a bench trial, Judge Tammy Robbins found him guilty of attempted unlawful imprisonment, attempted burglary and criminal impersonation.
During the two-day trial, prosecutors argued that a few hours after admitting his guilt in the insurance scheme, in March 2013, Roth tried to lure a woman into his minivan along the streets of Freeport.
Assistant District Attorney Everett Witherell said Roth pulled alongside Claudia Colon, 38, as she walked along Church Street in Freeport, telling the woman he was a police officer and demanding she get into his car.
“He was very angry and he said get into the car or I’m going to arrest you,” Colon said through a Spanish interpreter Friday while testifying at the trial. “I was very scared. I thought he was going to rape me or kill me or something.”
Colon said she ran away, but that Roth followed her, blocked her path and was driving on the sidewalk until the single mother darted into a check cashing store where she works.
Fellow employees at PLS Bank Checking testified Roth entered the store about three minutes after Colon, claiming to be a police detective. He allegedly told the manager that a prostitute was in the building and he needed to arrest her.
Roth’s lawyer, Brian Davis, argued his client believed Colon was a prostitute and that he was trying to solicit sex from her. Davis said Roth left the store when the woman told him she wasn’t a prostitute.
“It’s clear he was a John that night; he was out to find a prostitute,” Davis said during closing arguments. “…Is it a frustrated John wanting to talk to this prostitute who spurned him,” he asked the judge rhetorically.
Roth remained silent as the judge ruled on the case. Outside the courtroom, his lawyer said Roth wanted to be acquitted on all the charges, but was happy he was found not guilty on the kidnapping charge, which could have sent him to prison for upwards of 15 years.
After the verdict, Shams Tarek, a spokesman for Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice, said: “Mr. Roth faces serious consequences for his crimes and we will ask for consecutive sentences on his earlier plea and today’s convictions.”
Roth is currently awaiting sentence on a fourth-degree conspiracy charge related to the insurance scam, which could land him in prison for up to four years. He also faces up to an additional seven years behind bars after Friday’s verdict.
Roth will be back in court on March 21 for sentencing in both cases.