Murdaughs

Murdaugh Saga: Plea Deal Reached With Alleged Gang Member

Agreement contingent upon cooperation in ongoing investigations …

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A defendant with alleged ties to a prominent Lowcountry South Carolina gang – and ties to criminal investigations involving convicted killer Alex Murdaugh – pleaded guilty today in Kershaw County in front of circuit court judge Clifton Newman.

Jerry Rivers, 40, of Walterboro, S.C., was indicted on a single count of obstruction of justice when he allegedly swiped a cell phone belonging to Spencer Roberts from a gambling den where members of law enforcement were executing a search warrant in August 2022. The obstruction charge against Rivers is the only one originating from that search. The phone was never recovered.

Spencer Roberts was subsequently indicted – but not for anything related to the raid. Instead, he was indicted on charges stemming from fraudulent loans and unemployment benefits he received from federal and state Covid-19 assistance programs.

He is scheduled to stand trial in December of this year in Colleton County.

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As for Rivers, in November 2022 a state grand jury returned a thirteen-count indictment (.pdf) against him for similar fraudulent activity related to the application for and receipt of funds from federal and state programs intended to help businesses and individuals survive the Covid-19 crisis. About a week before Murdaugh’s murder trial, on January 17, 2023, Rivers was arrested and has been incarcerated at the Alvin S. Glenn detention center ever since.

According to information provided during his plea hearing, Rivers began selling oxycodone pills to Murdaugh’s alleged drug dealer/ check casher Curtis “Eddie” Smith – who told him he was buying them for a “cousin” during Covid-19.

Smith paid Rivers $88,000 in checks for the drugs – in addition to cash – through September 2021.

After Murdaugh’s arrest, Rivers and unnamed co-conspirators began looking for other means of income – allegedly finding it by applying for fraudulent car loans in the name of fake dealerships. According to prosecutors, over $120,000 was fraudulently obtained utilizing this scheme.

In addition to the fake dealerships, Rivers also fraudulently obtained $41,000 via Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) unemployment loans by using a fictional salon business. Assistant S.C. attorney general Johnny James Jr. noted during the hearing that Rivers didn’t have a cosmetology license.

(Click to View)

(Via: Propublica)

Rivers admitted guilt to all of the charges filed by the attorney general’s office. James indicated the plea agreement with Rivers is based on his cooperation in ongoing investigations into frauds by co-conspirators – with the state recommending a prison sentence of anywhere between five and twenty years.

During the discussion of bond, prosecutors noted Rivers had a history of cocaine and marijuana possession and distribution arrests – resulting in convictions, fines, imprisonment and probation which date back to 2001. Despite his history, Rivers told the court during his nine months in jail he received treatment and has remained clean. He told the court his previous bonds totaling $300,000 were so high his family wasn’t able to pay and asked the Court for new chance to prove himself.

After reading a letter from a member of Rivers’ family supporting bond, judge Newman ordered bond set at $150,000 and allowed for his pre-sentence release – all conditional upon Rivers’ acceptance into a residential drug rehabilitation and work program.

As this news outlet previously reported, Rivers has emerged as a mysterious figure in this still-unfolding story. Several months ago, the website Gangster Report published an article claiming he was “connected to the Walterboro Cowboys drug crew” – specifically referencing his relation to Khiry “K-Blacka” Broughton, whom the article described as the “Cowboys’ boss.”

The article went on to claim that Rivers was charged with “overseeing security at Murdaugh’s gambling den” on the Moselle property. That report has been downplayed by our law enforcement sources, but Rivers was clearly connected to such activity vis-à-vis his alleged role with the Cowboys.

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RELATED | FOLLOWING ALEX MURDAUGH’S MONEY PT. I

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According to a Colleton County incident report (.pdf), Rivers was arrested and charged with five counts of “unlawful games and betting” following a series of raids in and around Walterboro on August 10, 2022 led by agents of the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).

Those charges are not posted to the public index, however, and state prosecutors have yet to unseal any grand jury indictments related to them.

According to Gangster Report, the device sought by authorities on August 10, 2022 contained “communications with Murdaugh and Murdaugh associates.” Several of those communications were related to gambling activity, we are told.

Items seized during the August 10, 2022 raids included “evidence of illegal gambling,” but additional information about this “seized contraband” was not available from local authorities.

As this news outlet reported back in March, a statewide grand jury is continuing to investigate what remains of Murdaugh’s erstwhile empire – which obviously includes multiple investigatory threads just waiting to be pulled. Among those threads are the drug charges against Murdaugh and his co-conspirators – and allegations of institutional corruption in the Lowcountry.

Allegations tied to potentially larger drug smuggling operations also loom in proximity to the now-fallen “House of Murdaugh,” a legal dynasty which ran the S.C. fourteenth judicial circuit like a fiefdom for more than a century prior to its spectacular unraveling over the last four years.

“The Lowcountry as we know it was built on the drug trade,” one veteran Beaufort County law enforcement officer told our news outlet recently. “They built Hilton Head Island with cocaine money. You think the Murdaughs weren’t part of that?”

With Rivers pleading guilty and avoiding trial, information regarding where Murdaugh’s money went – as well as the accuracy of the claim presented by his defense team that it was spent on his $50,000-a-week drug habit – remains a mystery.

Count on this news outlet to keep digging …

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR ...

Jenn Wood (Provided)

Jenn Wood is FITSNews' incomparable research director. She's also the producer of the FITSFiles and Cheer Incorporated podcasts and leading expert on all things Murdaugh/ South Carolina justice. A former private investigator with a criminal justice degree, evildoers beware, Jenn Wood is far from your average journalist! A deep dive researcher with a passion for truth and a heart for victims, this mom of two is pretty much a superhero in FITSNews country. Did we mention she's married to a rocket scientist? (Lucky guy!) Got a story idea or a tip for Jenn? Email her at jenn@fitsnews.com.

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3 comments

J Monday Top fan August 18, 2023 at 7:59 am

This guy knows stuff. I hope they are able to get it out of him.

Reply
Kyle E. Blackwell August 18, 2023 at 10:46 pm

You bet your ass I want to sound off! I do not know whether Murdaugh is guilty or not, but I do know there has been a lot of nonsense put out about him, and many are trying to capitalize off the tragedy. Suddenly it seems everything anyone from the Murdaugh family was around over the years is suddenly incriminating evidence against them for all manner of different alleged illegal activities. For example, in a state newspaper that I read a couple of months ago, it alleged that the Murdaughs’s had undoubtedly committed some dastardly murder of some guy on a train in front of their home in the 20’s (1920’s) I believe. Purportedly this guy, by some casual correlation, which if you have sense or have ever taken the LSAT test, know does not mean causation, knew the Murdaugh’s. In essence, what this article was trying to imply, not having much luck with me by the way, was that since Murdaugh’s Great-Grandfather and this fellow were acquainted in some way, and that the fellow that got killed by accident on the train lived about twenty to forty miles from one another, because the train, probably traveling at around 45 mph or so, was on the tracks allegedly in front of the Murdaugh estate when this guy died, that the Murdaugh’s must have had him killed. That logic is so flawed that it is not even funny. It is batshit crazy. The reasoning used there is about like saying my dog Toot barked at a fellow from Greenville 30 miles away from its owner Kyle’s home one day. Kyle and that guy are acquainted with one another. One day while driving in his car in down the road in front of Kyle’s home the man had a tragic automobile accident. Kyle and Toot probably conspired in some way to kill the fellow. You see the article assumes (makes an ass out of you and me) that the Murdaugh’s had means, motive, and opportunity to kill this fellow. Then on the Today show, it made allegations that Alex Murdaugh from prison was making “fraudulent insurance claims about his housekeeper” they went on to say that Murdaugh told his insurance company that his housekeeper had and accident on his property and that he wanted his insurance to pay her, because he was at fault. The Today admitted that Murdaugh said he was liable for the injury that occurred on his property to the housekeeper. They then claimed that the reason that he told his own insurance company that someone got hurt on his property and he was liable for the damages, so his insurance company would give him the check. Really? I don’t know if any of you have ever had an accident somewhere, and it been your fault, but I know that if I have ever had to file a claim with my insurance company and the accident was my fault, they sure as hell do not send me a check. That’s a good damn way for my premiums to go up. So, that is the today show for you. The trial became a media happening. I don’t know whether Alex killed his family or not, I tend to believe though that he was railroaded in court, much like Dr. Jeffrey Macdonald. Another silly thing that I saw about this case, was that “there was a beer case on the boat” meaning Alex’s son’s boat, therefore since a case of beer was on the boat, in the eyes of those doing the reporting that definitively someway meant that that was the causation of murder. Ridiculous. Totally lacking in logic. Then they played on the thing about Alex trying to get his son reinstated at the University of South Carolina School of Law, when I listened to the recording of him to his son, there was nothing out of the ordinary about it. Just a dad talking to his son. You can be reinstated after cheating. Joe Biden ring a bell! Akim Anastopoulo, for reasons known to him, since this case became national news feels the urge to give his two cents on it and claims that he knew a lot of this stuff, before it came out through the case. If that is the case, I think the police should take Akim literally and go ask him what he knew and why he chose not to report it to the authorities. I mean, hey, if you know that a crime or crimes (Remember, he claims to have known about a lot of this stuff.) have taken place, it is your duty as a citizen to report it to the proper authorities. Akim, if you knew about unkosher, illegal shit going on with the Murdaugh family, why did you not report it to the authorities, mister slick? Not to mention that Akim’s family has a lot of power and influence in their own city, Charleston. Although, no one has accused Akim or his family of illegal activity to my knowledge, minus that, he kind of sounds like the pot calling the kettle black. Remember, Akim is also a prominent South Carolina Democrat, although I kind of thing, especially from my interaction with his wife, Constance, and other reasons, that they are conservative, corporate Democrats. More specifically, what we call neo-liberals and identity politics folks. Akim can do his thing and I’ll do mine, but that’s my take on him. I hope also to make it in the courtroom in the future on the criminal defense side of trial in one of this nations fines courts of law. I hope these folks honestly seek the truth, so do I.

Reply
Ttbwest August 21, 2023 at 2:02 pm

Wow, I didn’t even read all of that comment booklet.

Reply

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