MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) – A Long Island man is out on bail while facing charges that he helped his father try to fake his own death in an alleged insurance scheme.
Jonathan Roth had a brief court appearance Tuesday. He has pleaded not guilty to insurance fraud, conspiracy and falsely reporting an incident.
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Prosecutors said the 22-year-old was involved in a plot with his father Raymond Roth to obtain more than $50,000 from life insurance policies by helping his father fake his own death.
His attorney, Joey Jackson, declined to discuss the allegations against the younger Roth, but once again said his client was an abused child and teenager and that his father was behind the alleged scheme.
“This case, in it of itself, it’s about coercion. It’s about the abuse we talked about and it’s about manipulation and I think those things will be made clear,” he said outside the courthouse Tuesday. “The things his father has done to him over the course of time, I think it’s going to be obvious why this thing happened.”
According to court documents, prosecutors said Jonathan Roth confessed that a frantic 911 call reporting his father had drowned in the waters off Jones Beach on July 28 was a lie.
“The defendant at all times was fully aware that his father never walked into the water and had in fact driven off in his personal vehicle,” the complaint states.
That 911 call from Jonathan Roth triggered an intense air and water search that cost tens of thousands of dollars. While no one actually saw Raymond Roth swim away, the Massapequa man was initially presumed drowned.
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Authorities believe Raymond Roth first fled to Florida. He was later pulled over for speeding in South Carolina.
Last week, Raymond Roth was involuntarily committed to a Long Island hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
His attorney, Brian Davis, said the elder Roth could be released on Wednesday. Davis expects him to face charges similar to those against his son.
Jackson said the younger Roth will cooperate fully with the District Attorney’s Office.
“It’s going to be clear that my client is not accountable or responsible for any type of criminality,” Jackson said.
Jonathan Roth is expected to be back in court in September.
(TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)