New indictments: Murdaugh now faces over 50 charges
COLUMBIA, SC (AP) – A prominent South Carolina lawyer whose wife and son have been shot and killed Six months ago, in unsolved murders, he was charged Thursday with 21 more counts of stealing settlements and other funds from clients.
Combined with previous state grand jury charges, Murdaugh now faces nearly 50 counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent; computer crimes; money laundering and counterfeiting. State prosecutors said he stole more than $ 6.2 million. He also faces a few other charges after police said he tried to fake his own death.
The latest indictments against Alex Murdaugh on Thursday include seven other alleged schemes between 2016 and 2020 where the lawyer told clients their settlements were smaller than expected or that they had to pay additional fees for things like rebuilding an accident, according to court records .
Murdaugh, 53, then sent that part of the settlement money to a fake account he set up, prosecutors said.
This set of indictments indicated that Murdaugh had stolen nearly $ 1.4 million.
Murdaugh’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather were prosecutors in small Hampton County, where each road leading to the county seat is two-lane. The family also founded what has grown into a giant private law firm with dozens of attorneys known to sue railroads and obtain injury claims for workers.
Murdaugh’s legal troubles began after his wife, Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, were found shot dead at the family estate in June. No one has been charged with their deaths, and Murdaugh’s lawyers have said he has denied having anything to do with their murders. They did not immediately comment on the latest finance charges.
In an indictment on Thursday, prosecutors said Murdaugh told a deceased woman’s estate representative that he only got back $ 30,000, but because the price was so small, he would give up his attorney fees. Instead, Murdaugh recovered over $ 180,000 and wrote a check on his bank account for the difference of over $ 150,000, according to the indictment.
In another case, Murdaugh told a family friend that $ 85,000 of a settlement was to be set aside for a “medical insurance lien,” and then sent that money to himself, according to the deed. ‘charge.
Murdaugh was held without bail for more than seven weeks – a judge said it was for the accused’s own safety after his arrest on charges that he stole $ 3.4 million in insurance money intended for the sons of his Housekeeper Gloria Satterfield. She died from a fall in one of the family’s homes in 2018. Murdaugh’s lawyers are appealing the no bail decision to the state Supreme Court.
Murdaugh will appear in court again on Friday for a virtual hearing into 27 indictments from almost three weeks ago. Prosecutors said the charges included levying $ 125,000 from a settlement for a state soldier injured in the line of duty.
Murdaugh is also charged with what investigators called an attempt to shoot and kill himself so her surviving son could get a $ 10 million life insurance policy.
All of the charges against Murdaugh are felonies and he could face hundreds of years in prison if convicted of all of them.
All charges involve a fraudulent bank account Murdaugh set up with a similar name to a company that handles legal settlements, investigators said.
Murdaugh used the money to pay bank overdraft fees, credit card payments, checks to friends and family and other items, according to the indictments.
Follow Jeffrey Collins on Twitter at https://twitter.com/JSCollinsAP.