Atty. For L.I. Man Who Faked Death Says Client Has ‘Serious Psychiatric Issues’
FREEPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Long Island man who faked his own drowning death off Jones Beach pleaded not guilty Thursday to new charges of allegedly impersonating a police officer and trying to kidnap a woman in Nassau County.
Raymond Roth, 48, was arraigned Thursday in First District Court in Hempstead. He is being held without bail and is due back in court on April 24.
Roth was arrested Wednesday on charges of criminal impersonation, attempted kidnapping and attempted burglary.
On March 21, Roth posed as a cop and tried to lure a 38-year-old woman into his van in Freeport, police said.
“He was yelling ‘I’m a police officer,’ ordering her to get into the car,” Det. Lt. Robert Galgano said.
Investigators said Roth was then seen on surveillance cameras after he allegedly chased the woman into a nearby check-cashing store.
He demanded the employees open the security door, again identifying himself as a cop, but they refused, police said. He fled before police arrived, authorities said.
“I didn’t believe it at first. I talked to my client, he denied it,” Roth’s attorney Brian Davis told WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall. “The video that I saw certainly could pass for Ray. I know there’s still photographs and I’ve been told that confirms it.”
The alleged incident came just hours after Raymond Roth accepted a plea deal in connection with the faking of his own death last summer. Davis said his client was depressed and needs help.
“In the week leading up to the plea last week, his family was ready to call the police to have him brought to the hospital to try to have him committed again,” Davis told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.
He said he’s now concerned Roth may try to take his own life.
“Ray has psychiatric issues,” Davis said. “I’ve asked that he be put on suicide watch so he doesn’t do anything to harm himself.”
Davis went on to say “He’s on about 13 different medications. Ray certainly has some serious psychiatric issues.”
Detectives are looking into at least two other possible attempted kidnapping incidents.
“One took place in the end of February; one took place, I believe it was March 16,” Galgano said.
Hours earlier, Roth was in court accepting a plea bargain for hatching an elaborate scheme to fake his own death to collect on life insurance policies last year.
That 911 call triggered an intense air and water search that cost tens of thousands of dollars and Roth was initially presumed drowned.
Prosecutors said the father-son duo hatched the scheme in hopes of cashing in at least $410,000 in life insurance.
The plot was discovered after Roth’s wife found emails between father and son discussing the plan and alerted authorities, prosecutors said.
In that case, Roth pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges and agreed to serve 90 days in jail and five years of probation. He was also ordered to pay restitution to the U.S. Coast Guard and the Nassau County Police for the search efforts, totaling nearly $37,000.
Roth is currently enrolled in culinary school and had managed to delay his jail time until he finishes coursework and an internship. Now following the alleged kidnappings, the stakes are much higher.
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