Alex Murdaugh was arrested in Orlando, Florida Thursday on charges related to the Gloria Satterfield case, according to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
Murdaugh was charged with two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses. He faces up to ten years in prison for each charge.
“These charges stem from a SLED investigation into misappropriated settlement funds in the death of Gloria Satterfield,” SLED officials said in a statement.
Agents arrested Murdaugh after he was released from a Florida rehab facility for his alleged drug addiction. According to sources close to the situation, Murdaugh detoxed at a facility in Atlanta and transferred to a facility in Orlando, where he was scheduled to be released today.
Murdaugh was taken to Orange County Corrections Thursday morning. He will be held in Florida until he is extradited to South Carolina, where he will have his bond hearing.
Murdaugh’s extradition hearing is tentatively scheduled for 1 p.m. Friday in Orange County, Florida. If extradition is granted, he will be transferred to South Carolina likely on Saturday.
According to sources close to the situation, Murdaugh’s bond hearing could be held in either Beaufort County (where the warrants were sworn) or Richland County (considering the fact that Judge Clifton Newman has been appointed to the case). The bond hearing will likely be held next week.
This means that Murdaugh will likely have to spend the weekend in jail.
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Satterfield, who was the Murdaugh family’s housekeeper for more than two decades, died after an alleged trip and fall accident at Alex Murdaugh’s home in February 2018.
On September 15, 2021, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) opened an investigation into Satterfield’s death and her wrongful death settlement after a Hampton County Coroner found inconsistencies in her death.
In the last four weeks, South Carolina attorneys Eric Bland and Ronald Richter have uncovered a shocking paper trail that shows how Alex Murdaugh allegedly stole $3.6 million from Satterfield’s grieving family.
Last week, Bland published a bombshell motion that appears to show evidence stacked up against Alex Murdaugh, his two friends Cory Fleming and Chad Westendorf, his family’s law firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick (PMPED), and Fleming’s law firm Moss, Kuhn & Fleming for their alleged roles in the disgraceful $4.3 million secret settlement for Gloria Satterfield.
SLED Chief Mark Keel released a statement that would indicate Alex Murdaugh is certainly not the only target in this investigation.
“Today is merely one more step in a long process for justice for the many victims in these investigations. I want to commend the hard work and dedication that our agents have shown over the last four months,” Keel said. “They will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of those who were victimized by Alex Murdaugh and others. As I have said previously, we are committed to following the facts wherever they may lead us and we will not stop until justice is served.”
The arrest comes exactly one week after FITSNews published this story that raised the question: “Why isn’t Alex Murdaugh — who is accused of devising the plan to steal millions of dollars from Satterfield’s family — in jail?”
A paper trail of evidence shows that Alex Murdaugh led the pack in a scheme to steal millions of dollars in Satterfield’s 2019 wrongful death settlement.
After Gloria died, Murdaugh recruited his best friend Cory Fleming to sue him on behalf of her estate and convinced Gloria’s sons to sign over their personal representative rights to Westendorf so that Fleming wouldn’t be legally obligated to tell the Satterfield family what was going on with the settlement, according to Bland.
The $4.3 million settlement that was signed by Judge Carmen Mullen was not entered into the public record — a major violation of court procedure.
Murdaugh and Fleming allegedly claimed they were devising a structured settlement for Satterfield’s sons through a legitimate company called Forge Consulting LLC. Instead, Fleming made checks out to “Forge” after Murdaugh opened up a Bank of America account under that name.
“Alex Murdaugh opened up a bank account at Bank of America under the name of Forge, got the check cashed and walked away with the money,” Bland said.
Before Bland filed a lawsuit, Satterfield’s sons hadn’t received a dime of the $2.8 million they were entitled to receive in the settlement.
“I’m very proud of our law enforcement, SLED, and the justice system today,” Bland said after Murdaugh was arrested Thursday.
In a statement, Bland said it was a “bittersweet” day for his clients, Gloria Satterfield’s sons.
“The families and their attorneys are proud of how our justice system has conducted itself since the family had the courage to file its initial lawsuit on September 15, 2021 detailing the theft of the money recovered for the heirs of Gloria Satterfield in connection with her death,” the statement from Gloria’s family said.
Satterfield’s family members have been grappling with the reality that someone they trusted stole from them since they found out what happened in September.
“Avarice and betrayal of trust are at the heart of this matter,” the statement said. “Lawsuits and claims are not vehicles for lawyers, defendants and/or friends to enrich themselves at the expense of their clients. These belong to the clients and the clients only. This is the sacred trust that lawyers and fiduciaries owe their clients. 100% fidelity and never putting their interests over the clients.”
Satterfield’s family membered thanked the public for their continued support.
“It is not over,” the statement said. “A very good start to holding everyone accountable who either participated knowingly or breached their duties…The bottom line is no one is above the law.”
On month ago, Alex Murdaugh was arrested for another set of charges stemming from a bizarre suicide-for-hire insurance fraud scheme where he claimed to be shot in the head on Labor Day weekend.
Alex Murdaugh, whose father, grandfather, and great grandfather all served as solicitor over a five county region for nearly 100 years, has unraveled before the public eye ever since the alleged shooting.
Days after the alleged shooting, a family spokesperson released a statement that said Alex was going to rehab for his drug addiction and he resigned from the firm.
Partners at PMPED, the law firm started by his great grandfather, have accused Murdaugh of stealing millions from the firm. Last week, PMPED filed a lawsuit against Murdaugh.
Murdaugh is still a person of interest in the double homicide investigation of his wife and son, his attorney told Fox Carolina this week. Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were found murdered on June 7, 2021. No arrests have been made in the double homicide.
This story will be updated.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR..
Mandy Matney is the news director at FITSNews. She’s an investigative journalist from Kansas who has worked for newspapers in Missouri, Illinois, and South Carolina before making the switch to FITS. She currently lives on Hilton Head Island where she enjoys beach life. Mandy also hosts the Murdaugh Murders podcast. Want to contact Mandy? Send your tips to [email protected].