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Man who faked death accused of impersonating police officer

NBCNewYork.com

Raymond Roth

A man who admitted faking his own drowning at Jones Beach pleaded not guilty on new charges that he posed as a police officer and has been placed on suicide watch, his lawyer said Thursday.


Raymond Roth tried to "hurt himself" in custody and his family considered having him committed before he was arrested again for impersonating a police officer, Roth's lawyer, Brian Davis, said.

Roth last week  admitted faking his death in exchange for a 90-day jail sentence, but had not started serving that time when he allegedly impersonated a cop just hours after appearing in court. That plea deal could be in jeopardy and Roth could now face as many as four years in jail for faking his own death to collect an insurance policy.

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In this latest case, he faces more than 20 years in prison on attempted kidnapping, attempted burglary and criminal impersonation charges.  He pleaded not guilty and is due back in court on April 24.

Roth is accused of following a woman in van in a Freeport, saying "Get in the van or I will arrest you.  I am a police officer," according to court papers.

Surveillance video released by investigators allegedly shows a man following a woman into a check-cashing store. According to police, after the woman went to a back office area, the man tried to convince her to come out by claiming to be a cop.

"Open the door." Roth allegedly said, according to court papers. "I'm the police. Open the door, I'm a detective in the county."

He did not show a badge or phony identification, one police official said, but, according to court papers, patted his waist to create the impression he had a gun.

Authorities said they also are investigating his connection to two other similar impersonation incidents in Freeport.

Last July, Roth's son told authorities that his father went for a swim at Jones Beach and never came back. After a fruitless search ended, Roth turned up in Florida and South Carolina.

Prosecutors said father and son had conspired to collect on about $400,000 in life insurance.

Davis has said his client pleaded guilty to ensure his son won't go to jail. The case against his 22-year-old son is pending.