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Man accused of faking death believed to be back in NY

August 7, 2012 3:22:29 AM PDT
Police say a Long Island man who may have tried to fake his own death still hasn't come home, but reports say he has returned to New York.

New York State Park Police Capt. Bruce Marx said Saturday that authorities still don't know the whereabouts of Raymond Roth, but the New York Times reports, citing officials, that he is back in the state.

The 47-year-old Roth vanished a week ago after going for a swim at Jones Beach. Authorities launched a massive search until learning he'd been spotted in Florida. Then he was pulled over for speeding in North Carolina.

Meanwhile, Roth's son says he wasn't part of any plan concerning his father.

Jonathan Roth spoke to media outlets from an undisclosed location. The 22-year-old says he had nothing to do with the actions of his father.

On Friday, Roth's wife told reporters he had staged the disappearance without her knowledge. It's unclear whether criminal charges will be filed.

"We thought he drowned. I was planning a funeral for him, I lost my husband in a matter of hours. And then to find that he's alive? It's anger, it's sadness. It's the public that went out to try to save a man that was not there and vacationing in Florida," said Evana Roth, Raymond Roth's wife.

She also revealed copies of emails and bank statements that she says proves her 47-year-old estranged husband tried to fake his own death.

She says he tried to fake his own death when his son reported him missing in the waters off Jones Beach, with his wallet, shoes and clothing left behind.

"I get a call from my stepson saying dad went in the water and didn't come back out. I thought I lost my husband I thought he drowned," Evana Roth said.

The emails to his son Jonathan were dated last Friday.

In one, he said: "I need to get to the bank for cash for the trip."

In another he said, "You will need to help me get my car loaded."

A third email told his son to use a pay phone to call him last Sunday, the day after the disappearance at an Orlando timeshare resort. The resort confirmed to Eyewitness News that Roth was a guest.

The disappearance led to days of searching for Roth which cost taxpayers tens of thousands of dollars.

But on Wednesday, he called his brother alive and well, from Florida.

On Thursday, he got a speeding ticket in South Carolina.

He told police he'd turn himself in to explain himself, but he never showed up.

"The last time we had heard from him was about 12:30 p.m. Subsequent to that we heard nothing from him," said Captain Bruce Marx, New York State Park Police.

So why would he go through all of this? According to wife, he recently lost his job and was down on his luck.

"He made a will on Wednesday, he emptied out my accounts on Friday, Saturday morning. Even up to the times where he supposedly we think that this poor man is drowning in the water," Evana Roth said.

Her attorney alleges that Roth recently tripled his life insurance policy and cut his wife out of his will in hopes that his brother and his son might cash in.

"If one had to speculate the scheme would be the money would go to them and then they would get the money to him," said Lenard Leeds, Evana Roth's attorney.

"I would not even think he could be capable of doing this, but when someone is desperate enough and you feel that you lose everything, I don't know," Evana Roth said.

A "for-sale" sign was posted on the front lawn of the Roth's home on Thursday, and neighbors said the Cape Cod-style home had recently undergone extensive renovations.

Jane Stone, who has lived in the neighborhood for more than 50 years, said Raymond Roth was always pleasant and would often use his snow blower to clear neighbors' walkways in the winter. She said she spoke to him last week and he was proud to show off his home's renovations.

"He was very happy and delighted and asked us to come over for a barbecue," she said, although they never followed through on the invitation. "He seemed very happy and everything, but this is before the house went on sale."

A Nassau County police spokesman said it was against department policy to say whether officers had been dispatched to the home for any reason in the past.

A LinkedIn page for Roth noted he worked for Level 3 Communications, a data networking company. A company spokesman declined to comment.

The District Attorney's Office released a statement saying, "The investigation is ongoing and no decision has been made as to whether criminal charges will be filed."

(The Associated Press contributed to this report)

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