By FRANK ELTMAN, Associated Press
MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP) — A man who reported his father missing at a New York beach was charged Monday with insurance fraud and filing a false report several days after his father turned up alive in South Carolina, following a massive air and water search that cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Jonathan Roth, 22, also was charged with conspiracy to commit insurance fraud. He faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. His arraignment was scheduled for Tuesday. It was unclear whether he had an attorney.
Roth has maintained that he had nothing to do with the actions of his father, Raymond Roth. He told police that his father went swimming at Jones Beach and disappeared. His stepmother, Evana Roth, claims her husband staged the disappearance without her knowledge and has distributed emails to the news media that suggest he tried to fake his own death.
In one email, Raymond Roth, 47, instructs his son to contact him at an Orlando, Fla., resort one day after he was last seen at Jones Beach on July 28. A second email sent nine minutes later refers to Raymond Roth's need to "get to the bank for cash for the trip."
Jonathan Roth said he never received any emails from his father.
Evana Roth said her husband had recently been fired from his job. He also put their Massapequa house up for sale; a listing has an asking price of $550,000.
On Monday, she obtained an order of protection against him and announced plans to file for divorce.
Nassau County Police said Friday that Roth recently had been required to surrender a handgun and his pistol license after a harassment complaint was filed against him in New York City. Details of the complaint were not immediately available.
After he disappeared, Raymond Roth was stopped going 90 mph and given a speeding ticket in Santee, S.C. The officer who issued the ticket saw that Roth was listed in a national registry of missing people. Roth said he was returning to New York, and the officer let him proceed north.
Capt. Bruce Marx of the New York State Park Police, which has jurisdiction over Jones Beach, said Monday they have yet to hear from Raymond Roth. He promised them Thursday that he was returning to New York.