One of convicted killer Alex Murdaugh’s alleged accomplices in his schemes to steal millions of dollars has agreed to plead guilty in federal court, according to papers filed this week by the office of U.S. attorney Adair Ford Boroughs.
Attorney Cory Fleming of Beaufort, S.C. will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with his role in a scam that ripped off Murdaugh’s insurers to the tune of nearly $4 million. Murdaugh and Fleming pulled off the alleged scheme following the death of the former’s family housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, in February of 2018.
Fleming also agreed “to be fully truthful and forthright with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies by providing full, complete and truthful information about all criminal activities” of which he has knowledge. He further agreed to “testify fully and truthfully before any grand juries and at any trials or other proceedings if called upon to do so.”
Failure to do so would result in the government nullifying his plea agreement.
Fleming could be sentenced to up to five years in a federal prison and face a fine of $250,000 – as well as “full restitution to each and every identifiable victim.”
Satterfield, 57, passed away at Trident Medical Center in North Charleston, S.C. on February 26, 2018 – more than three weeks after allegedly tripping and falling off the front porch of the Murdaugh family’s now-infamous hunting property, known locally as Moselle.
Paul Murdaugh and his mother, Maggie Murdaugh, were both present at Moselle when Satterfield was allegedly tripped by the family’s dogs – causing her to fall backward onto the brick stairs in front of the main house shortly after 9:15 a.m. EST on the morning of Friday, February 2, 2018.
A little more than three years later, both Paul and Maggie were savagely murdered at the dog kennels on the Moselle property. Alex Murdaugh has been convicted of their murders and sentenced to life in prison for committing those crimes. He is currently facing nearly 100 other criminal charges – including a dozen financial charges tied to Satterfield’s death.
Murdaugh claimed his family’s dogs caused Satterfield to trip and fall. He also claimed she was at the residence that morning not to work, but rather to pick up a check from another family member. His unsubstantiated claim about the dogs – and his oddly specific insistence that Satterfield came to the residence to pick up a check as opposed to arriving for work – were key components of fraudulent insurance payouts and other claims related to this case.
On May 1, 2023, Murdaugh belatedly acknowledged “no dogs were involved in the fall of Gloria Satterfield on February 2, 2018.”
“(Murdaugh) invented Ms. Satterfield’s purported statement that dogs caused her fall to force his insurers to make a settlement payment, and he stated that she was not on the property to perform work,” his attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin stated.
(Click to view)
On May 31, 2022 – six weeks prior to being indicted for murdering his wife and son – Murdaugh confessed judgment (.pdf) in the amount of $4.3 million in connection with a civil case brought on behalf of Satterfield’s family by plaintiffs’ attorneys/ podcasters Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter.
Murdaugh has since renounced this confession, which his attorneys claim was elicited as a result of misconduct by Bland and Richter.
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 December 2021 hearing before S.C. circuit court judge Alison Lee.
In other words, if Murdaugh agreed to put Bland and Richter’s clients at the front of the line to recover damages from him – at the expense of other victims – they would not oppose his bond.
Fleming is facing nineteen state charges related to the Satterfield scheme.
According to federal prosecutors, Murdaugh and Fleming “knowingly and intentionally combined, conspired, confederated, agreed and had a tacit understanding with others, both known and unknown, and engaged in a scheme, plan, and artifice to defraud the estate of (Satterfield).”
(Click to view)
The two obtained “money and property” from Satterfield’s estate “by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, by making false and misleading statements, and omitting facts necessary to make the statements truthful and not misleading.”
Fleming is also accused of submitting two “fake disbursement” sheets from the settlement to the S.C. circuit court – one on January 7, 2019 and another approximately four months later, on May 13, 2019.
Both Fleming and Murdaugh were already facing state charges related to the Satterfield scam. Fleming is set to stand trial on those charges in September of this year, while Murdaugh is reportedly set to stand trial the following month.
Prosecutors Emily Limehouse, Winston Holliday Jr. and Kathleen Stoughton – the same team which successfully prosecuted convicted fraudster Russell Laffitte, another Murdaugh accomplice, last fall – are handling the federal cases. Laffitte was found guilty on November 22, 2022 of bank fraud, wire fraud, conspiracy and misapplying bank funds related to his role in Murdaugh’s financial scams.
He is currently appealing that verdict.
THE CHARGES …
(Via: U.S. Attorney’s Office)
THE PLEA DEAL …
(Via: U.S. Attorney’s Office)
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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