The police on Monday arrested the son of a Long Island man who the authorities say tried to fake his own death last month. They said they charged the son with aiding his father’s scheme to collect life insurance money.
The son, Jonathan Roth, 22, called emergency officials on July 28, saying his father, Raymond Roth,
had disappeared after swimming off Jones Beach, in Nassau County. Raymond Roth’s wife said she presumed he was dead, but on Thursday, he was stopped by the police in South Carolina for speeding.
Mr. Roth, 47, has since returned to New York, the police said, though his specific location is unclear. The Nassau County district attorney’s office said he had not been charged.
Jonathan Roth was charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and falsely reporting an incident, said John Byrne, a spokesman for the district attorney. Mr. Roth faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. It was unclear whether he had a lawyer.
Raymond Roth’s disappearance prompted a large emergency operation that involved a helicopter and police boats. The scheme apparently misled Mr. Roth’s wife, Evana Roth, who said she had been planning her husband’s funeral when she learned through e-mails between her stepson, Jonathan, and her husband on a family computer that he was still alive.
On Monday, Ms. Roth began divorce proceedings and obtained an order of protection against her husband, her lawyer, Lenard Leeds, said. In a news conference last week, she described her husband as an abusive alcoholic and expressed fears that he could try to harm her.
She said that her husband called her repeatedly after he was pulled over in South Carolina, but Mr. Leeds said Monday that those calls had stopped.
In the news conference, Ms. Roth said that she had uncovered e-mails implicating her husband and her stepson in the faked drowning. She also said her husband had increased the size of his life insurance policy in January and had withdrawn all of their money around the time of his disappearance.
Ms. Roth said her husband was fired from his job as a telecommunications manager on July 20, after he threatened to shoot two supervisors. The next day, his wife said, the police confiscated a licensed gun from Mr. Roth.