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‘A Clear Message’: Judge Rules To Freeze Alex Murdaugh’s Assets, Appoint Receivers

A judge ruled against the Murdaughs (again)

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For the second time in two weeks, a South Carolina judge ruled against disgraced attorney Alex Murdaugh.

On Tuesday, Judge Daniel Hall ordered an asset-freezing injunction and appointed receivers to manage and recover funds that could pay alleged victims currently suing Murdaugh.

Hall made his decision four days after attorney Mark Tinsley presented his arguments for a temporary injunction over Alex Murdaugh’s assets and to appoint two outside parties — attorney John T. Lay Jr. and former U.S. attorney Peter M. McCoy Jr. — to have control over Alex and Buster Murdaugh’s assets, which is known as “receivership” in the court.

The ruling comes just two weeks after another South Carolina judge denied Murdaugh’s bond for charges related to the Gloria Satterfield case. Those charges stem from an investigation by South Carolina attorneys Eric Bland and Ronald Richter — who uncovered a shocking paper trail showing how Murdaugh allegedly stole $3.6 million from Satterfield’s grieving family in her death settlement.

In court Friday, Tinsley argued that the receivership is necessary for the many victims in this case to get justice. Tinsley said that it’s possible that there are more victims — like the Satterfield  family — who were allegedly duped by Alex Murdaugh and are waiting to sue him.

Tinsley — who represents Mallory Beach‘s family in a wrongful death lawsuit against the Murdaughs told FITSNews his clients were “very pleased” with the ruling.

“They are hopeful that the receivers can begin to unwind the efforts that Alex and Buster Murdaugh have gone to to hide their assets,” Tinsley said.

This decision gives Lay and McCoy broad powers to not only lock up Alex’s and his son Buster’s assets, but to sue for the recovery of those assets as well.

Bland told FITSNews that he believes the judge’s ruling — following Murdaugh’s bond hearing two weeks ago —shows that the tides are changing in the South Carolina justice system.

“This is a clear message that the justice system has had enough of Alex Murdaugh. Enough of the games. Enough of the lawyer machinations that he wants to employ,” Bland said. “Our courts have said ‘we don’t want this to happen anymore. We don’t want him to decide who gets paid and who doesn’t get paid.'”

Following Friday’s “money hearing” in the Murdaugh Murders saga, two additional lawsuits were filed that claimed Alex Murdaugh had borrowed more than $550,000 from his law partner and brother since March 2021.

In a memo filed Monday, attorney Mark Tinsley argues that those two lawsuits only support his motion for the court to approve an injunction and receivership.

Tinsley filed the memo to advise the judge of the new revelations made in the additional lawsuits that also raise concerns about Alex Murdaugh’s money situation.

Alex’s own brother Randy Murdaugh filed a lawsuit against him Friday afternoon. In the lawsuit, Randy claimed that he loaned Alex $75,000 on Thursday September 2 — just two days before Alex’s botched suicide-for-hire incident and one day before the law firm started by his family allegedly confronted Alex about misappropriated funds.

According to his lawsuit, Randy Murdaugh paid $15,000 for Alex’s rehab stay. However, as Tinsley pointed out, Alex’s attorney Dick Harpootlian claimed in court twice that Alex Murdaugh’s insurance company was paying for his rehab. Harpootlian made this claim while arguing that his client was broke (an allegation that Tinsley questioned multiple times during Friday’s hearing).

Randy Murdaugh’s lawsuit also claimed that Buster “has already sold various assets belonging to Alex Murdaugh to pay other debts owed to Palmetto State Bank and the rehabilitation location,” including a tractor and rotary cutter Buster Murdaugh gave to Randy for a $43,500 debt coverage.

Soon after Randy filed his lawsuit, John E. Parker, who is a partner at Murdaugh family law firm — Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick (PMPED),  filed his own lawsuit Friday that claimed he loaned Alex Murdaugh the following amounts:

  • $150,000 on March 5, 2021
  • $77,000 on May 19, 2021
  • $250,000 on July 25, 2021.

Parker said that Alex Murdaugh has not paid him back for any of the loans.

In Tinsley’s memo, he argued that the two lawsuits “confirm that Buster Murdaugh and Alex are continuing to dispose of assets and cancel significant debts with apparent preference for family members without regard to potential claims of others.”

“Since March 2021, Alex Murdaugh’s family and friends have given him at least $550,000 which is unaccounted for,” Tinsley said in the memo. “These facts raise questions of where Alex Murdaugh spent this additional $550,000 to whom he has given it, for what purposes, and was any benefit received in return.”

Tinsley’s memo raises several big questions about the recently filed lawsuits and what they mean about Alex’s money situation.

memotinsley

“If Alex Murdaugh is truly broke, it seems strange that his former law partner and his brother, who likely has some intimate knowledge of Alex Murdaugh’s assets, would take the time and effort to file a lawsuit against him,” Tinsley wrote.

Attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin — who are currently representing Alex in multiple criminal cases— were hired to defend Paul Murdaugh in the boat crash in either March or April 2019, which would be soon after Alex transferred a large amount of the settlement money to his own account, according to prosecutors.

To recap, in February 2019, a highly intoxicated Paul Murdaugh was allegedly driving his father’s boat when Mallory Beach was killed in a horrific crash near Parris Island, South Carolina. At the time of Paul Murdaugh’s death in June 2021, he faced three felony boating under the influence charges in that crash.

Bland said the receivers will be able to find out whether or not Griffin and Harpootlian were paid in fees from the Satterfield settlement.

“The receiver will unwind every single transaction that Alex has done since 2015 when he opened the account and he will go to the people who have money (from the settlement) and they will have to disgorge that money,” Bland said. “Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin should look long and hard on whether they want to start spending the attorney fees they are getting (from the Murdaughs).”

Today’s ruling raise a big question in the case: Now that Murdaugh’s assets are locked up, will his “bulldog” defense attorneys and PR team still work for him? Who will fight for him now?

Bland told FITSNews that the receivers will have the power to investigate every financial transaction that Alex Murdaugh was directly or indirectly connected with.”

Could that mean that we will finally find out if Maggie and Paul had life insurance policies when they were murdered on June 7?

Stay tuned…

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR..

Mandy Matney

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 story ideas, comments, suggestions and tips to [email protected].

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