Alex Murdaugh stole nearly USD 5 million, new accusations allege.
South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh was charged Friday with 27 additional charges, and prosecutors said he stole nearly $ 5 million in settlement money he had obtained for your dead housekeeper, an injured state trooper, and other individuals and fees paid to your law firm.
There are still no charges in the shooting deaths of Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie, and their son, Paul, in June, which sparked six investigations into Murdaugh, his family, and his finances. These state investigations are ongoing.
Murdaugh, 53, remains in jail without bail after two previous arrests, a shocking drop for an attorney whose father, grandfather and great-grandfather were elected prosecutors in tiny Hampton County and whose family founded and grew an entire city-block private law firm of 20,000 people.
This latest state grand jury indictment says Murdaugh stole more than $ 4.8 million in the past five years. About $ 3.5 million went to insurance settlements for the children of Murdaugh’s housekeeper, whose death in 2019 was attributed to a fall at her home. You already faced additional charges in that case.
Prosecutors also allege that Murdaugh was trying to hide the money of the attorneys who sued him and his family for the death of a murdered teenager when authorities said Paul Murdaugh was driving while intoxicated and wrecked his father’s boat.
“We are not surprised by these new charges related to Alex’s handling of client funds and law firm fees. We have made it clear that Alex regrets that his actions have diverted attention from solving the murders of his wife, Maggie, and his son, Paul, “Murdaugh’s spokeswoman Amanda Loveday said in a statement.
The 27 charges include seven for money laundering, four for breach of trust, seven for obtaining signature or property under false pretenses, eight for computer crimes, and one forgery.
Friday’s charges settled on five indictments, describing five separate schemes in five counties where Murdaugh’s business operated. Some are several years old and others took place months before his wife and son were killed.
All 27 charges are felonies and if convicted of all counts in just one of the plots, he would face more than 100 years in prison, prosecutors said.
All of the charges involve a fraudulent bank account that Murdaugh created with a name similar to that of a company that handles legal settlements, investigators said.
Murdaugh used the money to pay bank overdraft fees, credit card payments, checks written to friends and family, and other items, the allegations say.
Murdaugh stole a $ 125,000 settlement from an injured on-duty state trooper and about $ 450,000 from two other clients who hired them to handle their personal injury cases, the allegations say.
Another indictment said Murdaugh had a fellow attorney write checks for $ 792,000 in fees directly to him, rather than to his PMPED law firm, saying the firm gave its approval to the settlement and “due to possible liability. civil in a case involving a boating accident in which a young woman died. ”
When the firm began asking questions, Murdaugh only paid them $ 600,000, leaving the other attorney to recover the remaining $ 192,000, prosecutors said.
Murdaugh was fired from his law firm in September, a day before investigators said he tried to kill himself so his surviving son could get a $ 10 million life insurance policy. The bullet just grazed his head. Murdaugh has been charged with conspiracy and a false insurance claim in that case.
The PMPED law firm has said that Murdaugh stole millions of dollars. State investigators are investigating these allegations, but no charges have been filed.
The state Supreme Court suspended Murdaugh’s attorney license after his initial arrest.
Most of the stolen money in the indictments involves the family of the Murdaugh family’s maid, Gloria Satterfield.
Murdaugh settled nearly $ 3.5 million in insurance settlements with Satterfield’s sons after convincing them to turn to a banker and probate attorney without telling them the men were his old friends, according to a lawsuit filed against Murdaugh by the Satterfield family.
The children said that He received none of that money.
Murdaugh’s attorneys have asked a judge to dismiss or postpone the children’s lawsuit because they have already received more than $ 6 million in legal settlements from Murdaugh’s law firm and the attorney and bank’s insurers, far more than the amount the children were supposed to pay. get.
Murdaugh’s attorneys said the criminal case over the Satterfield settlements involves the same allegations, making the civil lawsuit unnecessary.
Attorneys for the Satterfield family said that the presentation was absurd and promised to fight. They also said the 27 new charges are “welcome, long overdue, and appropriately filed.”
“While it may seem at times that justice moves slowly when the dam breaks, justice flows like a mighty river, and in this case, it takes a mighty river to clean up everything that has happened,” said attorneys Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter in a statement.