FARMINGDALE, N.Y. (AP) — An unemployed New York man suspected of faking his own death by drowning in a scheme to collect on a life insurance policy is in a hospital for psychiatric treatment, his attorney said Wednesday.
Raymond Roth, 47, of Massapequa was receiving treatment at an undisclosed Long Island hospital, attorney Brian Davis told The Associated Press in a telephone interview.
Roth set off a costly search and rescue effort after he was reported missing by his son on July 28 at Jones Beach. Twenty-two-year-old Jonathan Roth initially told authorities he last saw his father swimming in the ocean, but has since been arrested and admitted it never happened that way, according to court documents.
Davis said he expected the elder Roth would face criminal charges once he is released from the hospital. He said Raymond Roth was depressed and under medication and would be released "when doctors determine he is no longer a danger to himself."
A spokesman for the Nassau County district attorney declined to comment.
Authorities said Wednesday they had not heard from Raymond Roth since last Thursday afternoon when he claimed he was in the Washington, D.C., area.
Davis said Raymond Roth was brought to the hospital by relatives last week. He previously was sighted last Thursday morning after being issued a speeding ticket in Santee, S.C. He is believed to have earlier been at a Florida resort and told authorities he intended to return to New York.
Capt. Bruce Marx of the New York State Park Police, which has jurisdiction over Jones Beach, estimated that the air and sea search cost tens of thousands of dollars. The search spanned several days and included police vehicles, marine patrols, a helicopter, about 40 lifeguards, fire department dive teams and the U.S. Coast Guard, according to a criminal complaint filed against Jonathan Roth.
The younger Roth was arrested Monday on charges including conspiracy to commit insurance fraud after prosecutors said he schemed with his father to collect more than $50,000 in life insurance benefits just days after his father vanished. He has pleaded not guilty and is being held on $10,000 bond.
Investigators wrote in court papers that Jonathan Roth "was fully aware that his father never walked into the water and had in fact driven off in his own personal vehicle." He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted.
Raymond Roth's wife, Evana, 45, told reporters her husband staged the disappearance without her knowledge. She also implicated her stepson in the scheme, distributing emails that she said were on a family computer in their Massapequa home.
Evana Roth said her husband had recently been fired from his job in New York City. She has obtained an order of protection against him and announced plans to file for divorce.
A law enforcement official familiar with a New York City police investigation, but not authorized to comment, told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity that a co-worker told police that Raymond Roth had brought a gun to work and threatened two fellow employees in Manhattan in mid-July. He was never charged.
Nassau County Police confirmed that he later surrendered a handgun and that his gun license was suspended as the result of the New York City encounter. There is no record that Roth ever applied for, or was issued, a gun permit in New York City.
A spokesman for Roth's former employer, the telecommunications company Level 3 Communications, has declined to comment.
Associated Press Writer Tom Hays contributed to this report.