A West Virginia man has been sentenced to eight months of confinement after helping his wife fake her own death.
Rodney Wheeler, 48, pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to obstruct justice in January. On Monday, he was sentenced to two months in federal prison followed by six months of home confinement and three years of supervised release.
This comes after he called 911 in May of last year falsly claiming this his wife, Julie Wheeler, had fallen off the Grandview Overlook at West Virginia’s New River Gorge. This prompted hundreds of volunteers, law enforcement officers, and professional search and rescue personnel to search the area for Julie.
Two days later, police found Julie hiding in a closet at her home.
The pair “both admitted they conspired to fake her disappearance to avoid Julie Wheeler’s pending federal sentencing in a health care fraud case,” A press release issued on Monday said.
Julie had been convicted of overbilling a VA program for spina bifida care. In February, she was sentenced to 54 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $289,055.07 in restitution.