Jonathan Roth, the man accused of helping his father fake his death in Jones Beach in July told a TV talk show host he "was forced into the scheme," and feared for his life.
Appearing on Wednesday's "Dr. Phil" show, Roth claimed Raymond Roth was was an abusive father.
The father and son were both arrested last month and charged with insurance fraud after Jonathan Roth reported his dad missing, setting off a costly search at Jones. Beach.
Raymond Roth turned up safely a few days later.
When Dr. Phil McGraw asked Jonathan Roth if he was sorry he led his family to believe that his father was dead, he replied, "It does bother me, a lot," but added, "You have to understand I had no other choice. I would have died otherwise. He would have killed me...if I didn't do what he was telling me."
Roth, who appeared on the show with his lawyer, Joey Jackson, said he finally felt comfortable telling the truth once he was taken into custody.
"I was in the safety and security of the police, so I had no reason to fear my father," he ssaid.
The son said, "there has been a history of abuse" from his father. Charges of abuse by Raymond Roth have also been leveled by the lawyer for his wife, Evana Roth, who is asking for a divorce.
Raymond Roth's lawyer, Brian Davis, also appeared on "Dr. Phil" and said his client, "denies that he used physical punishment, except for one time in Jonathan's life when he was about 14." The lawyer said, that the Roths were described as "buddy, buddy" and "it certainly wasn't an abusive relationship at any time."