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Warrant Issued for Long Island Man Who Helped Dad's Drown Scam

Jonathan Roth is accused of helping fake his father's disappearance from Jones Beach

Tuesday, Sep 24, 2013  |  Updated 11:11 PM EDT
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Jonathan Roth, right, is accused of helping his father Raymond Roth, left, in a drowning scam

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A Long Island man who admitted helping his father fake his own drowning at a Long Island beach in a life insurance scam is being sought by authorities after he failed to appear for sentencing, authorities said.

Jonathan Roth, 23, of Massapequa, 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.

Shams Tarek, a spokesman for the Nassau County district attorney, confirmed Tuesday that Roth was a no-show at his scheduled sentencing last Friday, adding that a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Defense attorney Joey Jackson told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that he had no idea about his client's whereabouts.

"I am hoping this was a misunderstanding," Jackson said, although he conceded he has not spoken with his client in several days. "I am hoping this is a matter of miscommunication."

Jackson said Jonathan Roth had been living on Long Island, but said he did not know his exact whereabouts.

Jonathan Roth also has had bench warrants issued against him for allegedly harassing his girlfriend, according to prosecutors in neighboring Suffolk County.

Roth is currently being investigated for an incident on Sept. 2, in which he allegedly called the woman 150 times, in violation of an order of protection. That order was issued in January after he police said he jumped on the woman's car and banged on her windshield, according to Robert Clifford, spokesman for District Attorney Thomas Spota.

The spokesman said there also were complaints of harassment by the woman against Jonathan Roth in March and September 2012.

Jonathan Roth's father, Raymond, 48, became the focus of a nationwide manhunt for several days in the summer of 2012 when his son reported that his father may have drowned while swimming in the Atlantic Ocean off Jones Beach. Raymond Roth was then spotted at a timeshare he owned in Orlando, Fla., and later got a speeding ticket in Santee, S.C., before eventually returning to New York, where he surrendered.

Raymond Roth's attorney had said his client was suffering emotional problems and was later admitted to a hospital for psychiatric treatment.

In March, Raymond Roth accepted a plea deal, admitting to fourth-degree conspiracy. Prosecutors said he and his son plotted to collect about $400,000 in life insurance. During that proceeding, the elder Roth was promised a 90-day jail sentence after he agreed to pay $37,000 to defray the costs emergency responders incurred during their search for what they believed was a drowning victim.

Just hours after appearing in court, however, the elder Roth was arrested again, this time on charges of attempted kidnapping. Police say he approached a woman on Main Street in Freeport and identified himself as a police officer. The woman fled and Roth was later arrested. He now faces up to 15 years in prison on those charges. He is currently being held without bail.

Raymond Roth's attorney did not immediately return a call for comment on Tuesday.

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