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NY man who faked drowning death gets 7 years in prison

A New York man who impersonated a cop and unlawfully imprisoned a woman on Long Island just hours after pleading guilty to faking his death in an insurance fraud scheme has been sentenced to serve up to seven years in state prison, Nassau County prosecutors said Thursday.

Raymond Roth, who faked his own death and then pretended to be a cop when he tried to lure a woman into his van, is led out of the Nassau County Court after an appearance in his criminal court case.
Photo Credit: Mike Balsamo/

Raymond Roth, 49, of Massapequa, was sentenced Thursday on a count of fourth-degree conspiracy for faking his own drowning death at Jones Beach in 2012 in a failed attempt at collecting insurance money and on charges of attempted unlawful imprisonment, attempted burglary and criminal impersonation for posing as a detective and trying to lure a woman into his minivan along the streets on Freeport – just hours after pleading guilty in his conspiracy case.

“Never in my life did I guess I’d be here,” Roth told Nassau County Court Judge Tammy Robbins before he was sentenced. “I was a prominent member of society and now I’ve lost it all.”

Roth’s son, Jonathan Roth, was sentenced earlier this year to serve a year in jail for falsely reporting his father had drowned while swimming in the Atlantic Ocean off Jones Beach in a scheme to collect $400,000 in insurance money. Authorities – including Nassau County police and the US Coast Guard – conducted an extensive three-day search to locate Raymond Roth before receiving information he was headed to his timeshare in Florida.

“I had no intention of returning to New York alive,” Raymond Roth said Thursday. His attorney, Brian Davis, said Roth concocted the plan to fake his death after being fired from his job for threatening co-workers and being forced to sell his home. His brother eventually convinced him to return to New York, where he received psychiatric treatment – and attempted suicide – before he was arrested by New York State Park Police. In March 2013, he pleaded guilty to those charges and accepted a plea to be sentenced to 90 days in jail, five years probation and agreed to pay back more than $36,500 for the rescue operation. Prosecutors said Thursday he had not repaid any of the money.

Prosecutors contend that just five hours after pleading guilty in that case he pretended to be a police officer and tried to lure a woman into his van while driving in Freeport. “Hours after taking the plea, wearing the exact same clothes, the defendant went out and committed additional crimes,” Assistant District Attorney Everett Witherell said.

Davis had argued during Roth’s trial last month that his client thought the woman he confronted on the street was a prostitute and that he was trying to solicit sex from her. He was cleared of attempted kidnapping and attempted coercion at the trial.

While behind bars, Roth has been attending drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs and regularly attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. The elder Roth has also since reconciled with his son and the two now attend religious services together at the Nassau County Jail, where they are both inmates, his lawyer said.

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