In a jaw-dropping amendment to their lawsuit against Alex Murdaugh, attorneys representing Gloria Satterfield‘s family have offered a darker and more detailed look into how Murdaugh and others allegedly conspired to steal $4.3 million from the family.
The amendment filed Monday in Hampton County Courthouse adds Bank of America as a defendant, calling it “the bank of a money launderer,” and accuses Alex Murdaugh of paying Curtis “Eddie” Smith, his alleged shooter, more than $1.8 million from fake accounts since 2015.
Columbia attorneys Eric Bland and Ronald Richter, who have recovered more than $7 million from Murdaugh’s alleged co-conspirators in the botch wrongful death settlement, say that Bank of America essentially helped Murdaugh launder “huge sums of stolen money” by “flexing” its own rules and “ignoring bank customs.”
Smith was charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature among other serious charges in an alleged shooting on September 4. Nine days after the “shooting,” Murdaugh told police he had hired Smith to kill him as a part of a $10 million insurance fraud scheme. Apparently, that plan spun wildly off course and Smith maintains he was set up by Murdaugh.
In the lawsuit, Murdaugh is accused of writing 254 checks to Smith between 2015 and 2021. According to the lawsuit, Murdaugh used a Bank of America account under the name of a fake business to issue 17 cashiers checks that totaled $164,748.76.
According to the lawsuit, Murdaugh opened up two fake accounts with Bank of America. The first account was opened on September 22, 2015 under the name “Richard A. Murdaugh Sole Prop, DBA, Forge.” The second was a business account opened under the name “FORGE” on August 15, 2018.
“Bank of America was the last clear chance to stop Murdaugh’s criminal activities; instead of acting as a good corporate citizen, Bank of America chose to cash in on his crimes,” the lawsuit said.
According to the lawsuit, Alex Murdaugh’s Bank of America account “may have” have been open as late as November 2021.
While Alex Murdaugh stands accused as the ringleader who allegedly convinced Gloria’s sons to sue him with the help of his attorney friend Cory Fleming and his banker friend Chad Westendorf, Bank of America allegedly facilitated Murdaugh’s theft by allowing him to funnel money though his “Forge” account.
To recap, Murdaugh and Fleming allegedly claimed they were doing 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 is accused of stealing more than $3 million from Satterfield’s wrongful death settlement. To this day, he hasn’t paid the family back a dime.
Bland and Richter have recovered more than $7 million from five parties, including Fleming, Westendorf and Murdaugh’s former law firm, that each settled with the Satterfield family since the lawsuit was filed in September.
According to the lawsuit, Alex Murdaugh set up the “Forge” account in 2015.
But how was he able to set up that account without documentation showing that Forge was a legitimate business?
According to the lawsuit, Bank of America allowed Alex Murdaugh to use his social security number instead of the required federal tax ID number.
Bank of America also should have required paperwork to show proof of the business name, but the lawsuit alleges that those documents do not exist.
“If Bank of America had been paying attention at all, it should have known that Alex Murdaugh sought to leverage the name and reputation of the real Forge Consulting LLC,” the lawsuit said. “Of course, Bank of America was at all times just one question away from finding out the truth if they simply asked ‘what is the nature of Forge’s business?'”
In the lawsuit, the Satterfields’ attorneys accuse Bank of America of being a “high-tech laundromat.”
“Bank of America is a bank of fraud,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit also says that Alex cashed checks addressed to the real “Forge” into his fake “Forge account at Bank of America. (see check below).
The lawsuit accuses Bank of America employees of being careless with Murdaugh’s accounts on a number of occasions. The lawsuit included a photocopy of a check (see below) that was endorsed by Maggie Murdaugh and deposited into Alex’s account.
Before Bland filed the first lawsuit, Satterfield’s sons hadn’t received any part of the $2.8 million they were entitled to receive in the settlement.
In November, Murdaugh was charged with 27 felonies related to the five financial crimes — including the Satterfield settlement — in Bamberg, Orangeburg, Beaufort, Colleton and Allendale counties.
None of the charges stem from cases in Murdaugh’s home county of Hampton County — where he worked at the law firm started by his great-grandfather, Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick (PMPED), until he resigned in September just a day before an alleged suicide-for-hire incident.
Alex Murdaugh is still behind bars at the Richland County Detention Center after a judge denied him bond for the second time on charges related to the settlement.
Earlier today, FITSNews exclusively reported that Alex Murdaugh’s bond hearing related to the 27 new charges will be held online this Friday.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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–Liz Farrell contributed to this report.