MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Less than 24 hours after posting bail, a Long Island man suspected of faking his own drowning to collect on life insurance was re-arrested.
Raymond Roth, 47, is accused of violating an order of protection by calling his estranged wife’s cell phone three times Wednesday night, just hours after turning himself in to authorities, prosecutors said.
Twice she didn’t answer, but the third time she picked up and Roth said, “Evana, you know who this is,” CBS 2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.
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Attorney Brian Davis told the judge it was a simple misunderstanding and that Roth was never told the specifics of the order of protection.
“I said, ‘Don’t go to Massapequa, don’t go to the house, stay away,'” Davis said. “I didn’t get into phone calls.
Davis said Roth will not be contacting his wife anymore.
Roth pleaded not guilty Thursday to a charge of criminal contempt. Bail has been set at $10,000 cash or bond. His brother is expected to bail him out again.
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Earlier Wednesday, the Massapequa man was arrested after spending about 10 days involuntarily committed to a psychiatric hospital. He pleaded not guilty to charges including conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and was released on $100,000 bail.
Roth was reported missing by his 22-year-old son Jonathan Roth in a frantic 911 call saying his father had disappeared in the waters off Jones Beach on July 28.
“Jonathan Roth told emergency workers that his father was wearing black mesh shorts, that he had looked for his father in the water and that he was unable to find his father,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said Wednesday.
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.
“While authorities, friends and neighbors searched tirelessly for Mr. Roth, he was on his way to his timeshare at the West Gate Lake Resort in Orlando Florida,” Rice said.
According to court documents, prosecutors said Jonathan Roth was “at all times was fully aware that his father never walked into the water and had in fact driven off in his personal vehicle.”
Prosecutors said the father-son duo hatched the scheme to fake the elder Roth’s death in hopes of cashing in at least $410,000 in life insurance policies.
Prosecutors said the pair’s plan was for Jonathan Roth to try to file a claim on July 31.
“Though it is very unlikely that insurers would have paid on the policies pursuant to Mr. Roth’s directives, he nonetheless attempted to defraud insurers, abandon his problems at home, and begin a new life in Florida,” Rice said.
But Raymond Roth’s attorney Brian Davis said his client was not trying to scam the system, but rather cash in on life insurance policies he thought he was going to lose after getting fired from his job.
“He was under medication that was not working that was actually deleterious to his mental health,” Davis said.
But the alleged plot was discovered when prosecutors said Roth’s wife Evana stumbled on emails between father and son discussing details of the plan.
The younger Roth was later arrested and charged in connection with the case. The 22-year-old pleaded not guilty to insurance fraud, conspiracy and falsely reporting an incident. He is now free on bail.
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