Sentencing delayed for man linked to faked Jones Beach death

Jonathan Roth, 23, is now scheduled to appear

Jonathan Roth, 23, is now scheduled to appear Sept. 20 in Nassau County Court in Mineola. (Aug. 14, 2012) Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

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Sentencing was delayed Friday for a Massapequa man who admitted he helped fake his father's disappearance from Jones Beach as part of a botched life-insurance scam.

Jonathan Roth, 23, is now scheduled to appear Sept. 20 in Nassau County Court in Mineola.

Roth pleaded guilty on March 18 to fourth-degree conspiracy, a felony; and falsely reporting an incident, a misdemeanor. Prosecutors have agreed to drop the conspiracy charge and spare Roth jail time in exchange for his cooperation in the case against his father.

Defense attorney Joey Jackson of Manhattan did not return telephone calls and an email Friday.

Roth, who is out on bail, has admitted he falsely reported that he saw his father, Raymond, 48, enter the water and disappear on July 28, 2012. Officials estimate that $34,000 was spent in the search for the father, who reappeared days later when he was stopped by police for speeding in Santee, S.C.

Police found Raymond Roth's clothes, wallet and cellphone at the beach, but his iPhone had been wiped of all data and the driver's license was missing from the wallet. Later, prosecutors viewed surveillance videos that showed Raymond and Jonathan Roth had arrived at Jones Beach in two separate vehicles, not one, as Jonathan Roth initially told authorities.

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Raymond Roth pleaded guilty March 21 to faking his death and was promised a sentence of 90 days in jail. That night, Roth drove up to a 38-year-old woman walking on Main Street in Freeport, identified himself as a police officer and demanded that she get in, police said. He now faces up to 15 years in prison on charges that include attempted kidnapping.

The younger Roth told Newsday last year that he feared his father. "He would go crazy sometimes," the son said. "He was really hard on me my whole life."

The father's attorney, Brian Davis of Garden City, said earlier that his client was hoping to reconcile with his son.

Davis said the elder Roth was under financial pressure and "wasn't thinking correctly."

"Many of us think about making an escape, but in his mind he was actually going to do it," David said. "In his mind he was going to escape and work at a tiki bar or on a fishing boat."

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