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Roth cleared of attempted kidnapping, guilty of posing as cop

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

The Massapequa man who faked his drowning in a botched insurance scam was convicted of impersonating a police officer and other charges Friday in an unrelated case.

Raymond Roth, 49, was acquitted of the most serious charge, attempted kidnapping, for trying to lure a woman into his van in Freeport a year ago.

Roth showed no visible reaction when Nassau County Court Judge Tammy Robbins announced her verdict after a two-day bench trial.

"My client's very happy with that result," Roth's attorney, Brian Davis, of Garden City Plaza, said afterward.

The defendant's older brother, Robert Roth, was in the courtroom but declined to comment later.

Authorities said Raymond Roth posed as an officer on March 21, 2013 -- just hours after pleading guilty in the insurance fraud case -- and tried to lure Claudia Colon into his van by threatening to arrest her.

Colon, then three months pregnant with her third child, refused and ran inside her place of employment, PLS Checking Cashing.

Friday morning, Colon, 39, of Freeport, testified that she was walking to the business when Roth told her he was a detective and used his vehicle to block her path three times.

Colon said Roth threatened to arrest her if she didn't get in the van.

"I was very scared," she said. "I thought he was going to rape me or kill me."

Colon said Roth then followed her into the business and demanded that the manager, Austria Ventura, open a locked door and turn her over. Ventura refused and called police. Roth fled before officers arrived.

In his closing argument, Nassau Assistant District Attorney Everett Witherell said Roth intended to abduct Colon.

But Davis argued that Roth was looking for prostitutes and mistook the victim for one. He left the business after realizing that Colon worked there, the attorney said.

In addition to criminal impersonation, Robbins found Roth guilty of third-degree attempted burglary and second-degree attempted unlawful imprisonment. He faces 11/3 to 4 years in prison.

He faces the same sentence in the insurance fraud case, in which he faked his drowning at Jones Beach in July 2012. Both sentencings are scheduled for March 21, authorities said.

"Mr. Roth faces serious consequences for his crimes, and we will ask for consecutive sentences on his earlier plea and today's convictions," said district attorney's office spokesman Shams Tarek.

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