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Saltville man sentenced in fraud case
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Saltville man sentenced in fraud case

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ABINGDON, Va. — A Saltville man who admitted to engaging in a fraudulent scheme that involved him faking his own death was sentenced Thursday to nine years in federal prison.

Russell Geyer, 50, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Abingdon after previously pleading guilty in May to one count of contempt of court, one count of bankruptcy fraud, one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity fraud, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia.

Geyer tried to defraud the U.S. Bankruptcy Court by providing deceptive statements about fake medical conditions to hide assets, the release states.

In August 2019, an attorney working with Geyer told the court he received an email from Geyer’s wife saying her husband was dead, but the U.S. Attorney’s Office said Geyer actually sent the email himself and posed as his wife.

At a subsequent hearing, Geyer’s wife said her husband was alive and that neither of them had been in the hospital for the medical conditions that had been reported to the court, according to the release.

Russell Geyer’s attorney also told the court that he received an email from a Florida-based lawyer who said they sold assets in the bankruptcy case without the Geyers’ knowledge and that the person claimed to be leaving the country, the release states.

Authorities said they found that Russell Geyer had actually used a fake email to pose as the Florida attorney and that he had also used the assumed identity to fraudulently obtain $70,000 from his wife for the purported purpose of paying attorney’s fees in a separate matter.

The Florida attorney whose name was used is a real person, but that individual “had nothing to do with this case,” the release states.

The FBI was involved in investigating the case, according to the release.

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