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'Missing swimmer' pleads not guilty to attempted kidnapping

Raymond Roth leaves Nassau County District Court after

Raymond Roth leaves Nassau County District Court after making bail. (Aug. 15, 2012) Credit: Howard Schnapp

The man who faked his own drowning at Jones Beach last summer pleaded not guilty Tuesday to new charges that he posed as a police officer and tried to order a woman into his van.

Raymond Roth, 48, of Long Beach, was indicted by a grand jury on charges that include attempted kidnapping, attempted burglary and criminal impersonation, prosecutor Everett Witherell said.

If convicted of the felony charges, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

Nassau County Judge Tammy Robbins held Roth without bail. His next court date is June 24.

Roth pleaded guilty to faking his death in July, telling a Nassau judge that he had suffered a mental breakdown but was "feeling much better." He had enrolled in culinary school and hoped to become a chef after serving a 90-day sentence, his lawyer said.

But the night of his March 21 guilty plea, police say, Roth drove up to a 38-year-old woman walking down Main Street in Freeport, identified himself as a police officer and demanded that she get in. Roth had no uniform or badge, police said, but gestured toward his waistband as though there was a gun there.

The woman instead ran into a check-cashing store at 10 E. Sunrise Hwy., where she asked employees to let her inside their secure area, which they did, police said.

Roth followed her into the store and tried to also get into the secure area, police said. Employees called 911 and Roth fled before officers arrived, according to police.

Roth's original case drew national attention. Authorities said he drafted a will and then staged his Jones Beach drowning in hopes that his wife, Evana, and son, Jonathan, would collect $410,000 in insurance benefits. As rescue workers searched for him over four days, Roth drove down to his timeshare condo near Orlando, Fla., prosecutors said.

Evana Roth was never charged. Jonathan Roth has been charged with lying to police and trying to cash in the life insurance policy.

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