DOJ: Saltville man who pleaded guilty to faking death, posing as attorney sentenced to 9 years in prison

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SALTVILLE, Va. (WJHL) – A Saltville, Virginia man who faked his own death and pretended to be a Florida attorney has been sentenced after pleading guilty in May to multiple fraud charges.

According to a release from the Department of Justice, Russell Geyer, 50, was sentenced on Thursday in Abingdon to 108 months in federal prison.

Geyer had pleaded guilty to one count of each of the following:

  • Contempt of court
  • Bankruptcy fraud
  • Wire fraud
  • Aggravated identity fraud

Court documents say Geyer had admitted to a scheme to hide his assets and keep control of collateral.

The release says on August 30, 2019, Geyer’s wife sent an email to his attorney, informing him that Geyer had died. In reality, the emails was sent by Geyer while pretending to be his wife.

At a hearing on September 5, 2019, his wife testified that Geyer was alive and had never been out of town and in the hospital for serious medical conditions that he had previously claimed to have.

Geyer’s attorney also later received an email from an attorney in Florida, who claimed to have sold some of the assets involved in the Geyers’ bankruptcy proceedings without their knowledge.

The email from the Florida attorney also said that he had control of Geyer and told him to kill himself before claiming he was on a plane out of the country.

An investigation later revealed that the attorney was a real person, but he had nothing to do with the case.

The release sasy Geyer had used the attorney’s name and a “bogus email account” to send the emails.

“Further investigation revealed that Geyer had assumed the Florida attorney’s identity to fraudulently obtain $70,000 from his own wife,” the release says.

Geyer had told his wife that the Florida attorney was going to get him more than $1 million in a settlement case but needed the $70,000 for attorney fees.

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