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Raymond Roth remains jailed after arraignment

Police say Raymond Roth is charged with attempted

Police say Raymond Roth is charged with attempted kidnapping, two counts of first-degree criminal impersonation and one count of attempted burglary. (March 28, 2013) Credit: Howard Schnapp

The man who faked his own drowning last summer was jailed and ordered held without bail -- this time facing charges that he posed as a police officer and tried to order a woman to get into his van.

Raymond Roth -- who is suicidal, according to his lawyer -- pleaded not guilty Thursday to attempted kidnapping, attempted burglary and criminal impersonation. If convicted of the new felony charges, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

"Nassau County is safer with this man behind bars," prosecutor Everett Witherell said after the arraignment.

A week ago, Roth, 48, pleaded guilty to faking his death at Jones Beach 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 that very night, police say, the Long Beach man drove his white, paneled van through the streets of Freeport pretending to be a police officer and tried to abduct a female pedestrian.

In First District Court in Hempstead Thursday, Roth was still wearing his smock and checkered pants from cooking school. After accepting the pleas, Judge Colin O'Donnell denied the defendant bail.

Roth's lawyer, Brian Davis of Garden City, said his client is on 11 different prescription drugs, most of them psychotropic. He said Roth has already attempted suicide since his Wednesday arrest. Police did not confirm that claim.

"I'm disappointed, because a lot of work went into that first case," Davis said, referring to Roth getting arrested again after the plea deal in the prior case.

Det. Lt. Robert Galgano said that on March 21, Roth drove up to a 38-year-old woman as she walked down Main Street in Freeport, identified himself as a police officer and demanded that she get in. Roth did not display a uniform or a badge, Galgano said, but gestured toward his waistband as though there was a gun there.

The woman fled into a check-cashing store, where she asked employees to let her inside their secure area, which they did, Galgano said.

Roth followed her into the store and tried to get into the secure area, Galgano said.

Employees called 911, but Roth fled before police arrived, Galgano said.

Galgano said Roth also is also being investigated in connection with two similar incidents involving female pedestrians: one in late February; the other on March 16.

Roth's original case drew national attention. Authorities said he drafted a will and then staged his own 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 fled to his timeshare condo near Orlando, Fla., prosecutors said.


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