A 60-year-old Conway, South Carolina man who was appointed personal representative of a deceased person’s estate stands accused of stealing more than $465,000 from that estate, according to a news release from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.
Though the case is starkly different from that of Alex Murdaugh in most ways, the same allegations of probate abuse play a central role in both. With Murdaugh, personal representatives were used to allegedly pilfer millions of dollars in settlement money from Murdaugh’s clients.
A personal representative is in charge of managing the estate of a person who has died. As such, the “PR” has statutory and fiduciary responsibilities toward that estate. In other words, a PR is expected to act within the best interest of the estate.
In the Horry County case, Luther Allen Barefoot is accused of “removing” $465,731.77 from the estate’s account “for his own personal use,” according to the warrants.
Barefoot was charged this month with two counts of Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent for the value of $10,000 or more.
According to the warrants for his arrest, Barefoot was appointed personal representative of an estate in Horry County on Nov. 8, 2016. He then opened an account at Anderson Brothers Bank of which he was the sole signatory.
The name on the estate was redacted by SLED.
According to SLED, between December 2016 and January 2020, Barefoot transferred $35,211.00 to Laurel Street Enterprises and $28,976.76 to Call the Man LLC. Barefoot was a “signatory and owner” of both groups. He also removed $401,544.01 from the estate’s account and transferred it to his own personal account at Anderson Brothers Bank.
“There is no evidence to show he or anyone else on his behalf attempted or planned to pay back the money,” according to the warrants.
Conway Police Department requested SLED’s assistance in investigating this case.
Barefoot was booked at the J. Ruben Long Detention Center in Horry County.
The case will be prosecuted by the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet her @ElizFarrell.
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