Man sentenced for helping wife fake her death to dodge prison

Man sentenced for helping wife fake her death to dodge prison


A West Virginia man who admitted to helping his wife fake her own death so she could dodge prison time has been sentenced to eight months of confinement, federal authorities said.

Rodney Wheeler, 48, will spend two months in a federal lockup followed by six months of home confinement after pleading guilty in January to conspiracy to obstruct justice in the case that sparked a massive three-day search for his wife, Julie Wheeler, the Department of Justice announced Monday.

Prosecutors said the couple conspired to fake Julie Wheeler’s death in an effort to avoid a potential 10-year prison sentence after she pleaded guilty in February 2020 to scamming the Department of Veterans Affairs out of more than $300,000.

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Court documents show Rodney Wheeler called 911 on May 31 to claim that Julie, 44, had fallen over the main overlook at the New River Gorge in West Virginia, prompting a multi-agency search-and-rescue operation involving hundreds of volunteers.

But Julie Wheeler

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