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Jonathan Roth gets year in jail for helping fake dad's death

Jonathan Roth, 23, of Massapequa, leaves Nassau County

Jonathan Roth, 23, of Massapequa, leaves Nassau County Court on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Mineola after being sentenced to 1 year in jail. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Massapequa man who helped fake his father's July 2012 drowning in the waters off Jones Beach as part of an insurance scam was sentenced Tuesday to a year in jail.

Before the sentence was imposed, Jonathan Roth, 23, apologized to Nassau County Court Judge Tammy S. Robbins and others.

"I realize what I did was wrong," Roth said.

Robbins told Roth it's not too late to turn his life around. "I hope that this is the last time you find yourself in this position," she said.

"It is, your honor," Roth replied.

He has admitted to lying to police, telling them that he saw his father wade into the surf at Jones Beach on July 28, 2012, and disappear.

Police found Raymond Roth's clothes, wallet and cellphone on the beach, but his iPhone had been wiped of all data and his driver's license was missing from the wallet. Surveillance videos later showed that father and son arrived at Jones Beach in separate vehicles -- not one, as Jonathan Roth told authorities.

Raymond Roth reappeared on Aug. 2, 2012, when he was stopped for speeding in Santee, S.C. -- soon after his brother told detectives that Roth had turned up at a timeshare in Orlando, Fla.

Authorities said Roth and his son schemed to fake the death so the family could collect on the elder Roth's $410,000 insurance policy.

Jonathan Roth pleaded guilty last March to fourth-degree conspiracy, a felony; and falsely reporting an incident, a misdemeanor.

Prosecutors had agreed to drop the conspiracy charge and spare Roth jail time in exchange for his cooperation in the case against his father.

That changed when Roth skipped bail and violated a protection order by calling his ex-girlfriend about 75 times in a three-hour period in September 2013, authorities said.

Nassau Assistant District Attorney Everett Witherell and defense attorney Joey Jackson of Manhattan agreed to the 1-year sentence, and the judge approved the modified deal Tuesday.

Raymond Roth, 49, also of Massapequa, has pleaded guilty to fourth-degree conspiracy and is awaiting sentencing. He faces a maximum of 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison, plus nearly $37,000 in restitution for search efforts.

In an unrelated case, he's scheduled to stand trial Wednesday for allegedly posing as a police officer and ordering a woman into his car. He is charged with attempted kidnapping, criminal impersonation and other crimes, and faces up to 15 years in prison.

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