MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Long Island man who authorities said helped his father fake his own drowning at Jones Beach in a life insurance scam was back in court Friday after being captured in Ohio by a bail bonds company.
Jonathan Roth, 23, wore an orange jail jumpsuit and did not say a word as he was brought into Nassau County Court Friday morning. A judge, citing other pending arrest warrants, ordered him held without bail.
He told reporters Thursday while being taken to the Nassau County jail that he had no money to afford the trip back from Ohio for the scheduled proceeding on Sept. 20. An arrest warrant was issued for Roth last week after he failed to appear.
“I never tried to run,” Roth said. “I’m extremely sorry for all this.”
A bail bonds company that posted $10,000 for his release in the insurance case found him Thursday living in Groveport, Ohio. It was not clear why Roth had been living there.
“We used a certain amount of trickery, put forth a female, they answered the door and we took the house,” Michelle Esquenazi with Empire Bail Bonds said. “He was very shocked. He was very surprised that we found him.”
Roth had been expected to receive no jail time after pleading guilty to conspiracy charges because he had assisted prosecutors in the case against his father, Raymond Roth.
“People make mistakes, particularly when they’re young,” Jonathan Roth’s attorney Joey Jackson said outside court on Friday.
Prosecutors have made no decision on whether that previous agreement will stand, a spokesman said.
“I don’t think there was any intent to leave and not be detected,” Jackson said. “We had a deal in the works with the prosecutor.”
Prosecutors said Roth and his father conspired to collect at least $410,000 in life insurance after Raymond Roth was reported missing by his son in a frantic 911 call in July of last year, saying his father had disappeared in the waters off Jones Beach.
That 911 call triggered an intense air and water search that cost tens of thousands of dollars and Roth 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.
Raymond Roth was then spotted at a timeshare he owned in Orlando and later got a speeding ticket in South Carolina before eventually returning to New York, where he surrendered.
In March, Raymond Roth accepted a plea deal, admitting to fourth-degree conspiracy. He was expected to get a 90-day jail sentence but later was arrested on attempted kidnapping charges.
Jonathan Roth is also wanted for an incident on Sept. 2, in which he allegedly called a former girlfriend 150 times, in violation of an order of protection.
That order was issued in January after police said he jumped on the woman’s car and banged on her windshield, according to a spokesman for the Suffolk County district attorney.
The spokesman said there also were complaints of harassment by the woman against Jonathan Roth in March and September 2012. He was not sure when Roth would appear before a Suffolk judge in that case.
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