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Raymond Roth in psychiatric hospital, says lawyer

Raymond Roth's photo on his LinkedIn profile. Police

Raymond Roth's photo on his LinkedIn profile. Police say Roth was reported missing and feared drowned off Jones Beach but was pulled over in South Carolina days later for speeding on Interstate 95. Credit: LinkedIn

A Massapequa man who disappeared after he was feared drowned at Jones Beach last month has checked himself into a Long Island psychiatric hospital, his lawyer said Wednesday.

Brian Davis of Garden City said his client, Raymond Roth, is now being held involuntarily at the facility, which he would not name. He said Roth, 47, will remain there until he is able to surrender to prosecutors.

"They're just trying to level him off, so when he goes into court he can handle it," Davis said of the hospital staff.

On July 28, Roth's son Jonathan Roth, 22, also of Massapequa, told State Park Police he saw his father walk into the ocean until he was chest deep, and had not seen him since.

Jonathan Roth was arrested and charged Monday with lying to the police, then trying to cash in on his father's $50,000 life insurance policy. In court papers, prosecutors said the son admitted to the scheme.

He has pleaded not guilty to second-degree insurance fraud and fourth-degree conspiracy, both felonies; and to falsely reporting an incident and making a false written declaration, both misdemeanors. Jonathan Roth is being held on $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond.

Davis said prosecutors intend to charge Raymond Roth with crimes similar to those his son faces.

John Byrne, a spokesman for Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice, declined to comment.

Davis said Raymond Roth has struggled with mental illness since suffering a brain injury when he was hit by a car when he was 7 years old.

He said when Roth lost his job this summer, he began acting irrationally. He said medications Roth was taking, including Prozac, exacerbated his condition.

"Instead of calming him and relieving his anxiety, it made him more intense and irate," Davis said.

Immediately after losing his job, Davis said Roth put his house on the market and donated his suits to charity.

"That isn't what someone acting rationally would do," he said.

Raymond Roth was presumed drowned until last Wednesday, when his brother called to say Roth was in Orlando, Fla. The same day, he was ticketed for speeding in Santee, S.C. Police believe he initially fled to Orlando, Fla., where he has a time share.

Davis said he does not know whether Jonathan Roth was involved in the scheme, but has said he does not believe Roth's wife, Evana, played any part.

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