Man sentenced for trying to help wife fake death
CHARLESTON, W.Va. - A West Virginia man accused of helping his wife try to fake her death to avoid being sentenced for health care fraud has been sentenced to eight months in prison.
Rodney Wheeler of Beckley was sentenced Monday in Charleston federal court after pleading guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Prosecutors said Wheeler and his wife, Julie M. Wheeler, came up with a plan to keep her out of prison.
Rodney Wheeler told authorities in a phone call last May 31 that she had fallen from an overlook at the New River Gorge, prompting a massive search. He repeatedly gave false statements to state and federal investigators, prosecutors said.
State Police later found Julie Wheeler hiding in her home.
She was sentenced last June to three years and six months for fraud related to overbilling. In February she received an additional year for conspiring to obstruct justice and will serve the sentences consecutively.
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