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L.I. Man Who Helped Fake Father’s Death Gets Year In Jail

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Jonathan Roth (credit: CBS 2)

Jonathan Roth (credit: CBS 2)

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MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Long Island man who admitted to helping his father fake his own drowning at Jones Beach in a life insurance scam  has been sentenced to a year in jail.

Jonathan Roth, 23, of Massapequa pleaded guilty last year to falsely reporting an incident and was originally expected to receive no jail time, but lost the deal after jumping bail.

“It’s satisfying to see this sentence because he did flee,” said bail bondswoman Michelle Esquenazi, who tracked down Roth to Ohio.

Roth, who has already served five months in jail since his arrest, apologized during his sentencing Tuesday, telling the judge, “What I did was wrong,” 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reported.

“I think his father influenced him significantly to participate in that crime and he ultimately said, ‘Look, let me atone for that, let me accept responsibility,’ and that’s what he did,” defense attorney Joey Jackson said. “He’s apologetic for everything that’s occurred.”

Prosecutors said Roth and his father, Raymond Roth, conspired to collect more than $400,000 in life insurance money.

In July 2012, Jonathan Roth called 911 and reported his father missing in the waters off Jones Beach, triggering an intense air and water search that lasted several days and cost tens of thousands of dollars. While no one actually saw Raymond Roth swim away, he was initially presumed drowned.

The plot was discovered after Raymond Roth’s wife found emails between father and son discussing the plan and alerted authorities, prosecutors said.

Authorities believe Raymond Roth first fled to Florida. He was later pulled over for speeding in South Carolina, before returning to New York to surrender.

“By helping his father in this scheme, Mr. Roth wasted the precious time and resources of first responders tasked with keeping thousands safe during the busy summer season,” Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said. “As the result of his actions, innocent people could have lost their lives or sustained serious injury due to the greedy and deceitful actions of another.”

The elder Roth pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges last March, and was ordered to pay restitution to the U.S. Coast Guard and the Nassau County Police for the search efforts, totaling nearly $37,000. He is awaiting sentencing.

Raymond Roth was later charged with impersonating a police officer and trying to kidnap a woman in Nassau County. That case goes to trial this week. If convicted of the top charge, he faces up to 15 years in prison.

Jackson said Jonathan Roth and his father are no longer on speaking terms, WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall reported.

“Jonathan had some growing up to do, and I think like any young person you eventually find your way,” Jackson said.

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