Woman Faked Own Death After Scamming $300,000 from the VA Health Care System
Beckley, West Virginia
Cristal M Clark
One 43-year old Julie M. Wheeler came up with quite an elaborate scheme all in an attempt to get out of facing the punishment for scamming roughly $300,000 from the VA Health Care System.
Julie had previously pleaded guilty on Feb. 11 to defrauding the Department of Veterans Affairs Spina Bifida Health Care Benefits Program. According to court records, she had overbilled as a caregiver for a family member, identified as K.L for an extended period of time.
Julie’s company JRW Homecare Support Services, charged the VA-approved rate of $736 per day to provide full-time care to K.L., including bathing, grooming, feeding and other support. Ahh but here is the problem, it would seem that Julie did not actually provide the care she billed for during the time in which she billed it. You see Julie admitted to the VA and the FBI that she inflated the rate and quality of care for said patient.
She submitted claims to the VA stating that she provided care for K.L. eight hours a day, seven days a week, from October 2016 to April 2018 at the full daily rate of $736 a day. Her admission of guilt was corroborated by other witnesses who provided statements that Wheeler did not provide eight hours of daily care. Sadly she also acknowledged that her conduct had deprived her family member of services, according to the release. Sadly, K.L, who really did have spina bifida, has since died, officials said.
But why face the music when you can just fake your own death, you see this where Julie stepped even further over that fine line of breaking the law.
On May 31, Julie Wheeler and other family members staged her fall from the Grandview State Park overlook, a popular state park in Raleigh County, West Virginia.
Naturally, this intel led to an extensive search effort in the New River Gorge by state, federal and local authorities, assisted by numerous volunteers, which turned up nothing.
Now Julie, not being the brightest bulb in the box, was located days later at her umm own home. Yes in her own home and hiding in a closet. Like who the hell runs from authorities by running home and hiding in a closet, like the cops would never think to check the closet. Now Julie has been handed down sentence enhancements for obstruction of justice. Anyway, Julie’s husband, Rodney has now been charged with felony and misdemeanor charges including conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor, false emergency reporting and willful disruption of a governmental process.
These two, complete idiots.
U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart: “Absolutely despicable. Wheeler’s egregious fraud scheme denied much needed spina bifida care for her own sister while she fleeced the Veteran’s Administration of almost $300,000, then she faked her own disappearance to evade sentencing, risking the lives and resources of first responders and emergency personnel. Outrageous. Terribly tragic case all around.”
Julie is in fact headed to prison, 42 months in prison and restitution of $289,055.07 and supervised release for 3 years. Her husband has yet to be sentenced.
Cristal M Clark