The co-receivers appointed last fall to oversee Alex Murdaugh’s finances filed a motion Wednesday asking a judge to hold Murdaugh in contempt for violating the court-order that froze his assets last fall.
Attorneys John T. Lay and Peter McCoy — who were appointed by Judge Daniel Hall in November to comb through Murdaugh’s finances after evidence emerged that Murdaugh was hiding assets — filed the motion after he signed away his rights to his wife’s multimillion-dollar estate.
On Monday, a waiver apparently signed by Murdaugh was submitted to the Colleton County Probate Court. This is a violation of the Nov. 4 order from Hall in which Murdaugh is barred from transferring any of his assets — including “inherited assets” — according to Wednesday’s motion.
Murdaugh is being held at the Richland County Detention Center in lieu of $7 million bond. He is the sole beneficiary of Maggie Murdaugh‘s estate — which includes the 1,700-plus acre property where she was killed with their son Paul this past June.
”Presumably Alex Murdaugh had assistance to effectuate the disclaimer filed in Maggie Murdaugh’s estate as Alex Murdaugh is currently incarcerated. The Receivers would like to assume that no lawyers were involved in assisting Alex Murdaugh in violating this court order,” Lay and McCory wrote in a footnote to their motion.
Read the motion here.
Alex Murdaugh is also the only “person of interest” publicly named in their murders.
No arrests have been made yet in that case.
In October, Murdaugh was arrested for allegedly stealing $4.3 million from the family of the woman who helped raise his sons.
Shortly after, a photo began circulating of his surviving son Buster gambling in Las Vegas, Allendale-based attorney Mark Tinsley moved swiftly to put an end to the Murdaughs’ ongoing efforts to move and hide the family’s assets.
Both Alex and Buster Murdaugh are defendants in several lawsuits connected to a fatal 2019 boat crash in Beaufort County. Paul Murdaugh, who was 19 at the time, was charged with three felony counts of Boating Under the Influence and was awaiting trial at the time of his death.
The first lawsuit was filed by the family of Mallory Beach, who was killed in that crash.
Because of the suit, Murdaugh was under increased pressure to disclose details of his assets, which he appeared to be withholding from the plaintiffs.
A hearing related to this asset disclosure was scheduled for June 10, three days after Maggie and Paul were murdered at the family’s Moselle estate.
Since the murders, it was revealed that Murdaugh has allegedly been stealing from clients for nearly a decade. As of now he faces 74 charges, most of which are related to the theft of $8.4 million.
According to Wednesday’s motion, Maggie Murdaugh’s estate consists of “various personal and property” valued “in the millions of dollars.”
The November order prevents Alex Murdaugh from “hiding, concealing, misappropriating, selling, encumbering, transferring, impairing there value of, and otherwise disposing of any of (his) assets.”
These assets, according to the motion, include “inherited assets.”
“A disclaimer of interest in an estate’s assets is, in effect, a transfer of assets from the original inheriting party to the decedent’s secondary beneficiaries.”
The motion, which calls the waiver attempt “void,” states: “Alex Murdaugh, and other persons acting on his behalf, are prohibited from directly and indirectly transferring or otherwise disposing of Alex Murdaugh’s Assets.”
Maggie Murdaugh’s estate would likely pass to their surviving son Buster. Though Buster is a defendant in several lawsuits, the motion notes, “based on the Receivers’ investigation thus far, it is apparent that Alex Murdaugh likely has significantly more creditors and larger debts than Buster Murdaugh.”
Lay and McCoy contend that Alex Murdaugh signed away his rights to the estate “with the belief that Buster Murdaugh’s debts would be less than those of Alex Murdaugh and thus the assets from Maggie’s Estate may be preserved for Buster Murdaugh in some portion.”
They call this an “improper preference” and say it violates the terms and intended purpose of the receivership order.
“The Receivers are continuing to investigate and learn more about additional possible creditors. Suffice it to say, if the Disclaimer is allowed to remain in place, such creditors may be left with little to no ability to collect alleged damages.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Liz Farrell is the new executive editor at FITSNews. She was named 2018’s top columnist in the state by South Carolina Press Association and is back after taking a nearly two-year break from corporate journalism to reclaim her soul. Email her at [email protected] or tweet her @ElizFarrell.
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