West Virginia woman sentenced after faking death

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A West Virginia woman who faked her own death to get out of a fraud charge has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.

U.S. Attorney Mike Stuart on Tuesday said 43-year-old Julie M. Wheeler was sentenced for defrauding a federal health care program and now faces local charges for reporting a false emergency.

Authorities said Wheeler pleaded guilty to the fraud charge in February but before she could be sentenced, she and her family staged her fall from the Grandview State Park overlook.

Eventually, state police found Wheeler at her home in Beckley, hiding in a closet. It’s unclear if she has hired a lawyer for the local charges. 

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