Julie M. Wheeler, 43, Beckley, entered a guilty plea for federal health care fraud Tuesday, and faces up to 10 years of incarceration, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release when sentenced May 20.
According to a press release from United States Attorney Mike Stuart, “Wheeler defrauded the Spina Bifida Health Care Benefits Program and in the process stole hundreds of thousands of dollars from taxpayers. Taking advantage of the condition of spina bifida of a child for personal greed is truly a despicable crime.
“Wheeler even admitted that she defrauded the VA of hundreds of thousands of dollars and deprived the victim – a child diagnosed with spina bifida – of services,” Stuart stated in the realease.
The VA provides critical benefits and services to heroic veterans and their dependents. Our veterans deserve better. The families of our veterans deserve better. And the victims of terrible conditions like spina bifida deserve all of God’s graces. Greed is a terribly destructive human condition.”
Wheeler was related to K.L (the unidentified child victim) and was also the owner of a homecare services company, JRW Homecare Support Services, according to Stuart’s release. Wheeler was hired to provide services to K.L. due to K.L.’s spina bifida condition at the VA approved rate of $736 a day to provide eight hours of daily services. Wheeler’s care was supposed to include bathing, grooming, changing K.L.’s clothes and other issues associated with K.L.’s hygiene, food intake, and lifestyle.
Wheeler submitted fraudulent applications where she filled out VA forms and was overpaid for providing care for K.L.
Specifically, Wheeler did not provide K.L. the care for and during the time period described. This was corroborated by other witnesses who provided statements that Wheeler did not provide eight hours of daily care. Wheeler further admitted that her conduct defrauded the VA of hundreds of thousands of dollars and deprived the victim of services. K.L. has since passed away.