UPDATE: Husband allegedly involved in Grandview hoax pleads not guilty; Wife’s arraignment rescheduled

UPDATE: BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) –  Julie and Rodney Wheeler, the couple charged in the plot to allegedly fake Julie’s death by staging a fall from the Grandview overlook, were scheduled to appear in court on Friday for arraignment.

Rodney, out on home confinement, pleaded not guiltily to multiple felony counts after a grand jury indicted he and Julie for the alleged crimes. The charges include felony fraudulent schemes and felony conspiracy. 

Julie was scheduled to appear as well over video conference, but court officials were told that she was recently transferred from Southern Regional Jail to South Central Regional Jail, and so they had to reschedule. 

“So even though she’ll only be appearing by video and won’t be in our physical custody, the federal folks wanted us to do a writ, which is no big deal. It’s just paper work, so her arraignment has been reset until November 12 to give us time to file the writs,” Raleigh County Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Keller said. 

Julie Wheeler pled guilty to federal conspiracy for the original fraud case where she took money from the VA, the alleged motive for the death scheme. She is now serving that 3 1/2-year sentence while she faces state and federal charges. 

Rodney Wheeler’s case has been moved to the next term of court, so his trial and pre-trial dates will be set in 2021.

Original Story:

 

UPDATE: (Tuesday, June 30, 2020, at 3:30 pm) CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – A woman who pled guilty to health care fraud is sentenced to prison.

Julie Wheeler of Beaver had a sentencing hearing in Charleston in front of Judge Copenhaver today.  Wheeler was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison, 3 years of supervised released, 100 dollar special assessment, no fine, and restitution in the amount of 289,055.07.  The court made a recommendation for Julie to be housed at the Federal Corrections Institution in Alderson.

Wheeler pled guilty to health care fraud back in February of this year.

Both Julie and her husband faked her death back in May, which led to a two-day search at the Grandview Overlook.

The Wheeler’s have been charged with fraudulent schemes, conspiracy, false information to WVSP, false emergency incident, willful disruption of a governmental process, obstructing an officer and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

They are still awaiting court for the new charges.


UPDATE: (Wednesday, June 17, 2020, at 4:30 pm) BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – A sentencing hearing that was scheduled today for a woman who pled guilty to health care fraud was delayed.

Julie Wheeler was scheduled to have a preliminary hearing in Charleston, but it was delayed until June 30, 2020, at 1:30 pm.

The reason for the delay was due to the presentence report for the case is being revised with the addition of significant matters that affect the USSG guideline range.


UPDATE: (Friday, June 12, 2020, at 10:30 pm) BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – A preliminary hearing was scheduled for a couple who orchestrated a missing cover-up story.

The Wheelers were supposed to have a preliminary hearing, but it had to be rescheduled because they make too much money for a court-appointed attorney.

They are in the process of finding an attorney. A new hearing has not been scheduled.



UPDATE: (Wednesday, June 3, 2020, at 12:45 pm)
 BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – A husband and wife who orchestrated a missing cover-up story have been arraigned.

Julie and Rodney Wheeler were arraigned via video conference, and each was given a 100,000 dollar bond.

Prosecuting Attorney Kristen Keller tells WOAY that she requested that if they make bail, they are put on home confinement, which was granted.

WOAY will have more updates on this story tonight at 5 and 6.


UPDATE: (Tuesday, June 2, 2020, at 9 pm) BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – Julie Wheeler and her husband, Rodney Wheeler, have been charged after Julie was reported to be missing.

It was determined the Wheeler’s orchestrated and fabricated the missing person complaint. Several local, city, state, federal, and private agencies assisted in the search.

The Wheeler’s have been charged with fraudulent schemes, conspiracy, false information to WVSP, false emergency incident, willful disruption of a governmental process, obstructing an officer and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.


UPDATE: (Tuesday, June 2, 2020, at 5 pm) BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – After an extensive search, Troopers from the Beckley State Police Detachment has located Julie Wheeler alive and well.

Mrs. Wheeler was reported missing recently from the Grandview Overlook area.

The details surrounding this situation are being held due to this being an open and ongoing investigation.


UPDATE (Tuesday, June 2, 2020, at 1 pm) GRANDVIEW, WV (WOAY) – Officials have released the name of the woman that reportedly fell off the overlook at Grandview.

Park Rangers confirmed to WOAY that the woman is Julie Wheeler, 43, of Beckley. Wheeler allegedly fell off the overlook at Grandview on Sunday night just after 8 pm.

The National Park Service joined by the Beaver Volunteer Fire Dept., West Virginia State Police, the Raleigh Co. Sheriff’s Dept., Jan-Care Ambulance, and the Fayette Co., Vertical Rescue Team, were all on the scene Sunday night and again on Monday.

National Park Rangers have been out all day today, searching for her.

Julie M. Wheeler entered a guilty plea for federal health care fraud. Wheeler faces up to 10 years of incarceration, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release when sentenced. She will also be subject to an order of restitution in an amount ranging from $302,131 to $469,983, with the final determination to be made by the Court at sentencing.

Her sentencing hearing was originally scheduled for Friday, May 22, 2020, but was continued to June 17, 2020.

Anna Saunders
Anna Saunders is a weekend reporter for WOAY. With a diploma from Princeton Senior High School and a mother from Fayette County, she is no stranger to the area. She received a degree in Media Arts and Design from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia and wanted to return home to start her career as a reporter.