Raymond Roth sentenced in Jones Beach fake drowning case

Raymond Roth, seen here on March 7, 2014,

Raymond Roth, seen here on March 7, 2014, was sentenced to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison and was ordered to pay the costs -- $36,555.37 -- of what rescuers spent searching for him in the Atlantic Ocean. (Credit: Howard Schnapp)

A Massapequa man who tried to fake his drowning off Jones Beach as part of an insurance scam before driving to his Florida timeshare is now heading to prison.

Nassau County Judge Tammy Robbins Thursday sentenced Raymond Roth to 2 1/3 years to 7 years behind bars, telling him it stuck with her that he'd involved his son in the scheme.

Roth, 49, also will have to pay back the cost of what rescuers spent searching for him in the Atlantic Ocean -- $36,555.37.

"I was a prominent member of society. Now I've lost it all," Roth told Robbins.

"I also take full responsibility for what I've done," he said, before assuring the judge later: "You'll never see me again."

The sentence followed Roth's earlier guilty plea to a conspiracy charge after the July 2012 insurance plot. Authorities said he had his son, Jonathan Roth, call 911 and report that he'd disappeared in the surf.

Rescuers searched for more than four days, but prosecutors said Roth drove to his timeshare near Orlando in the meantime.

Authorities say Roth drafted a will before staging his death in hopes that his wife and son would collect $410,000 in insurance benefits, and he could start a new life in Florida.

The sentence imposed Thursday also covered convictions for criminal impersonation, attempted burglary and attempted unlawful imprisonment linked to a March 2013 Freeport incident.

Roth posed as a police officer hours after pleading guilty in the fraud case, before trying to lure a woman into his van, authorities said. The victim, who was three months pregnant, refused his advances and ran inside the business where she worked.

Roth told Robbins he was vice president of a communications company before his arrests. But he said he got depressed, and after faking his death, went to Florida planning to end his pain, with no thought of returning to New York alive.

Police in South Carolina pulled him over for speeding days after his disappearance and contacted New York authorities.

Roth's lawyer, Brian Davis, said his client suffered some brain damage after a car hit him at age 6, that his father beat him as a child, and that he'd struggled with mental illness and substance abuse problems.

Davis said medications led Roth to become erratic, before he came up with the "ill-conceived plan to fake his death."

Davis also said Thursday that Roth reconciled with Jonathan Roth, 24, who is serving a year behind bars for his role in the insurance scam, after the two met up at a jail church service.

District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a statement that Roth's sentence means he'll finally be held accountable "for his utter disregard for the law."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Follow Newsday on social media

advertisement | advertise on newsday