Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh has been indicted by federal prosecutors on 22 counts of wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy and money laundering related to three of his alleged schemes to steal money from a host of individuals and institutions.
Already serving a pair of life sentences for the murders of his wife and son, Murdaugh now faces decades behind bars and millions in fines related to the federal charges – which were announced just hours after one of his co-conspirators reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors.
According to a news release from the office of U.S. attorney Adair Ford Boroughs, Murdaugh is facing the following charges:
- One count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000;
- One count of bank fraud, punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000;
- Two counts of wire fraud, punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000;
- Three counts of wire fraud, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000;
- One count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000; and
- Fourteen counts of money laundering, punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $500,000.
Those charges were detailed in a 28-page indictment (.pdf) submitted by federal prosecutors Emily Limehouse, Winston Holliday Jr. and Kathleen Stoughton.
(Click to view)
As expected, many of the federal charges stem from cases covered extensively by the media during the November 2022 federal trial of convicted white collar criminal Russell Laffitte – who was found guilty of conspiracy, wire fraud, bank fraud and three counts of misapplying bank funds for his role in multiple Murdaugh-related fleecings.
Other charges stem from a case which is generating significant attention right now in civil court – the fleecing of two insurance companies (Lloyd’s of London and Nautilus) in the aftermath of the death of Murdaugh’s longtime housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield.
That case has resulted in a federal plea deal and prosecution agreement with another alleged Murdaugh co-conspirator, Beaufort S.C. attorney Cory Fleming – who is referred to as “attorney 2” in the Murdaugh indictment.
In addition to their federal charges, Murdaugh, Fleming and Laffitte are all facing numerous state charges related to these same alleged scams. In fact, Fleming is scheduled to stand trial in September on those charges while Murdaugh was expected to stand trial the following month.
It is not immediately clear how the federal indictments will impact the timing of the state’s case. Nor is it clear whether state and federal prosecutors are still singing from the same sheet of music as it relates to their prosecutions of Murdaugh.
“Trust in our legal system begins with trust in its lawyers,” Boroughs said in a statement. “South Carolinians turn to lawyers when they are at their most vulnerable, and in our state, those who abuse the public’s trust and enrich themselves by fraud, theft, and self-dealing will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. We are grateful to the FBI for their tireless work on this case and to the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division for their work to hold Alex Murdaugh, and those who enabled him, accountable in our state system. We remain committed to doing our part to further that effort in the federal system.”
(Click to view)
According to federal prosecutors, Murdaugh is guilty of the following …
- Drafting, or directing law firm employees to draft, disbursement sheets to send settlement funds to Murdaugh’s accounts without proper disclosure or client or law firm approval;
- Claiming funds held in the law firm’s trust account as attorney’s fees and directing the disbursement of those funds for his benefit;
- Claiming and collecting attorney’s fees on fake or nonexistent annuities;
- Creating fraudulent “expenses” that were never incurred on client matters and directing the disbursement of settlement funds to pay the cited costs, including claimed medical expenses, construction expenses, and airline expenses;
- Directing other attorneys with whom he was associated on client matters to disburse attorney’s fees directly to him, rather than appropriately routing the fees through the law firm; and
- Intercepting insurance proceeds intended for beneficiaries and depositing them directly into his personal account.
That latter allegation is bound to generate some controversy, however, as Murdaugh has admitted to lying about the circumstances surrounding the death of his former housekeeper. In other words, the beneficiaries in that case – who are represented by plaintiffs’ attorneys/ podcasters Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter – may not have been entitled to any “proceeds.”
Furthermore, Murdaugh’s attorneys have accused Bland and Richter of misconduct in connection with a $4.3 million confession of judgment related to this case. According to the two attorneys, Bland and Richter “enticed” Murdaugh into making this confession by offering “not to oppose Murdaugh’s request for bond” at a bond hearing before S.C. circuit court judge Alison Lee.
Alex Murdaugh is the central figure in the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga. Three generations of Murdaughs – including Alex’s late father, Randolph Murdaugh III – held the post of S.C. fourteenth circuit solicitor between 1920-2006. Murdaugh himself was a badge-carrying assistant solicitor – and past president of the influential S.C. trial lawyers lobby. The “House of Murdaugh” ran the Palmetto Lowcounty like a fiefdom for nearly a century – dispensing justice as it saw fit.
That fiefdom began to collapse in February 2019, however, when Murdaugh’s youngest son – the late Paul Murdaugh – allegedly crashed a boat belonging to his father into a piling near the Archer’s Creek Bridge outside of Parris Island, S.C. The crash killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach of Hampton, S.C. – and exposed the Murdaugh family to the white hot glare of the statewide limelight for the first time. It also led to the filing of a high-profile wrongful death lawsuit which threatened to expose Murdaugh’s financial misdeeds.
According to state prosecutors, this “gathering storm” led to Murdaugh deciding to brutally murder his son Paul and his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, at Moselle – the family’s 1,700-acre hunting property straddling the Salkehatchie River on the border of Colleton and Hampton counties.
“Alex has been cooperating with the United States attorneys’ office and federal agencies in their investigation of a broad range of activities,” attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin said in a statement. “We anticipate that the charges brought today will be quickly resolved without a trial.”
“That sound you hear may be some asses puckering around the state,” veteran Palmetto State trial lawyer Robert Rikard tweeted.
Let’s hope so … there are certainly plenty of corrupt “asses” in South Carolina who deserve to go down for their accommodation and enabling of Murdaugh’s corruption.
THE CHARGES …murdaugh-indictment
(Via: U.S. District Court)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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And now it begins…will “Elick” stay at McCormick in “VIP custody” or will he get sent to a “Club Fed”? This is what “Harmbo” have been after all along.
Part of me says let the Feds have him so SC doesn’t pay the cost but then I remember that my tax dollars (and money borrowed from China) pay for his incarceration regardless of where his DA resides. Let the Feds try him, but since all of his (known) miscreant behavior was in South Carolina, committed against South Carolinians, we ought to just retain custody of his “Slim- Jim eating”, not as fat as it once was, derrière.
Since I’m paying for part of Big Red’s housekeeping regardless of which house he’s kept in, how about this, take him out of VIP custody at McCormick and send him to Lee with the rest of the “never see daylights again” where he belongs.
China only owns about a trillion dollars of the national debt, and Japan actually holds more.
The whole China meme with the national debt is just boring conservative drivel. The real crime is the fact that the GOP is funded by countless corporations that have moved manufacturing and service jobs overseas. That’s how China actually owns us, but the GOP ain’t about to fix that.
You are correct that China holds less than Japan ($1 trillion vice $1.2 trillion) Between them they hold 8-9% of the total debt – but, last time I looked, Japan was not an existential enemy.
US Attorney Adair F. Boroughs comment along with the charges says there must be public trust in SC lawyers? How possibly can he say such a thing? We all know the self dealing through the legislator of the appointment of Judges. Every legal jurisdiction in the State is self dealing. Daddy passes his roll down to his son or God forbid his daughter. There is NO justice and NO trust in this self dealing State. Ohh if the public only knew what goes on behind closed doors of these courts, law offices and clubs of this State. Murdaugh is a microcosm of the SC justice system!
Just shut up! Alex won’t stop crying and you’re ruining my visit