An unemployed man suspected of faking his own drowning at a New York beach to collect on life insurance has been re-arrested for violating an order of protection by contacting his estranged wife, prosecutors said Thursday.
Raymond Roth, of Massapequa, was arrested on a charge of criminal contempt on Wednesday night, only hours after he was released on $100,000 bail. He is expected to plead not guilty on the latest charge at his arraignment later Thursday, defense attorney Brian Davis said.
Roth, who was arrested earlier Wednesday after being released from a Long Island hospital for psychiatric treatment, called his wife, Evana, three times following his release, prosecutors said. The first two times she did not pick up. The third time, Roth allegedly said, "Evana, you know who this is."
Roth was reported missing by his son on July 28 at Jones Beach. Authorities conducted a massive search for him over several days before receiving word that he was alive and staying at a time-share he owned at a Florida resort. On Aug. 2, he was issued a speeding ticket in Santee, S.C., and told police he was returning to New York to meet with police.
He never showed up for that meeting. His attorney later revealed that Roth was admitted to a hospital for psychiatric treatment. Davis told reporters following his release that Roth was being treated for manic depression and bipolar disorder. He was expected to receive ongoing treatment while free on bail.
Prosecutors say Roth and his son, Jonathan, conspired to collect on more than $400,000 in life insurance policies. Jonathan Roth, who was arrested on the same charges last week, has denied the charges. His attorney claims he was coerced into cooperating.
Davis has countered that the elder Roth was not aware of an insurance scam, blaming his son. Jonathan Roth contacted a life insurance company about cashing in on a policy only three days after reporting his father missing, authorities said.
Davis explained his client's disappearance by saying Raymond Roth had been under stress after losing his job in mid-July and had been taking a combination of medications that made him act irrationally. Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said Roth had been fired from his job at a New York City telecommunications company after threatening co-workers. Nassau police later confiscated a handgun that Roth owned and suspended his pistol permit.
Evana Roth has 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 home. Rice said Wednesday that Evana Roth is not a suspect in the alleged scheme.
In an email written three days before he vanished, Raymond Roth instructed his son to contact him at an Orlando resort to update him on developments following his disappearance. He also put the family's home up for sale just days before he vanished.
Evana Roth also told reporters that her husband had tried to contact her by telephone several times while he was missing, although the calls apparently stopped once he was admitted to the hospital. The couple has filed for divorce.
Prosecutors said Wednesday that an air and sea search for Roth cost in excess of $30,000.