An extensive, and very expensive, search for a New York man believed to have drowned off the coast of Long Island has finally reached a conclusion nobody could have predicted.
Nobody except for the supposed victim Raymond Roth and his son Jonathan, that is. This summer Roth's disappearance set off an air and sea search by the Coast Guard and Nassau Police Department, a search that turns out to have been completely unnecessary.
On July 28th Jonathan Roth reported to authorities that his father had gone missing after going for a swim at Jones Beach. On August 1 however, Raymond Roth's wife Evana found a series of e-mails between her husband and son that turned her sorrow into anger. She informed authorities that Raymond was not in fact dead, but rather had faked his drowning.
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"This case easily could've turned tragic had an actual emergency occurred while this defendant sent first responders on a wild goose chase," says Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice.
According to reports, Roth decided to fake his death so that his family could cash in on a life insurance policy valued at roughly $410,000. His wife believed Roth devised the plan with his son after he was fired from his job in July.
After that, the plan unfolded rather quickly. Raymond Roth was pulled over for speeding in South Caroline on August 2, thus verifying his wife's findings. He told officers in Santee, S.C. that he was going back to authorities in New York and was allowed to leave, though was not arrested for another 6 days.
Roth has since been admitted to a psychiatric hospital where, according to his lawyer, he attempted to commit suicide. He is no longer believed to be a danger to himself or others.
On Thursday Raymond Roth finally faced the consequences of his actions, agreeing to plea bargain on charges of insurance fraud that will have him on probation for the next five years. Furthermore, Roth must pay the Coast Guard $27,445 and the Nassau County police $9,109.
If Roth fails to pay the money, on May 21 he could be sentenced to upwards of four years in jail. The case against his son is still pending.
This is the second story of a faked death to hit news sources today. MMA fighter Charles Rowan had convinced his promoters that he died in a car wreck last month. He later turned up to rob a gun shop and is now facing robbery and assault charges.