Murdaughs

Murdaugh Money: The Hunt For A Hidden Pay Day

The latest legal wrangling over convicted killer’s assets …

The “will-they-or-won’t-they” debate over the proposed federal seizure of convicted killer Alex Murdaugh’s financial assets – currently held by a South Carolina court-appointed receivership – has turned into a hunt for information about proceeds from licensing rights and documentary appearances.

Richard A. Murdaugh, Jr. – a.k.a. Buster Murdaugh – recently sought protection from a subpoena which commanded him to turn over information related to his recent appearance in a Fox Nation documentary.

Specifically, the subpoena sought “any and all records or documents indicating or showing any funds or anything of value of any kind to you or received by your representative showing or documenting any licensing fees paid for anything any way related to the use of anything or any fees for anyone’s participation in the Fox Nation documentary entitled, The Fall of the House of Murdaugh, including any checks, licensing agreements, or anything else.”

The subpoena was sent by Tabor Vaux – an attorney representing the family of Mallory Beach in their wrongful death lawsuit linked to the Murdaugh family. That case settled In July, but the legal wrangling tied to it continues.

Another round of subpoenas was served up to the Murdaughs and their legal counsel by John T. Lay and Peter M. McCoy – attorneys representing the court-appointed receivership.

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At issue is whether Alex Murdaugh has benefitted financially from his participation in the Fox Nation documentary, which is expressly forbidden by the order establishing the receivership.

As with so many parts of the crumbling of the Murdaugh empire, everything traces back to the wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Beach family after the tragic February 24, 2019 boat crash that claimed the life of their daughter. On that fateful morning, an inebriated Paul Murdaugh crashed a 17-foot, center console Sea Hunt fishing boat owned by his father into the piling of a bridge in Beaufort County, S.C.

Murdaugh walked away from the crash unscathed. Several others sustained non-life-threatening injuries. Beach was flung into the water upon impact and never reemerged. Her body was discovered a week later by fishermen.

The crash and subsequent lawsuit initiated a progression of events which threatened to expose Alex Murdaugh’s escalating financial crimes. As the web unraveled, prosecutors claim Murdaugh grew increasingly desperate – and that attempts to deflect and delay a day of reckoning was his motive for murdering his son, Paul, and his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, on June 7, 2021 at the family’s hunting property in Colleton County.

As the scope of Murdaugh’s admitted financial misconduct became clear, a receivership controlling his assets was established by circuit court judge Daniel Hall at the request of attorney Mark Tinsley. The receivership was created as a preventative measure to preserve assets for victims of Murdaugh’s financial crimes. Attorneys Lay and McCoy were appointed to identify and liquidate the assets.

(Click to view)

Witness Mark Tinsley, the attorney for Mallory Beach’s family, answered questions during Alex Murdaugh’s trial for murder at the Colleton County Courthouse on Friday, February 10, 2023. Joshua Boucher/The State/Pool

Interestingly, the order defined Murdaugh’s assets to include not only property, stocks, partnership interests, contract rights, and the like – but also inherited assets, intellectual property, all rights to name, image or likeness, all publication rights to the events related in any way to Alex Murdaugh and contract rights ( egardless of whether the assets were previously or presently owned by Murdaugh). It also included Murdaugh’s future assets.

The wording of the order would seem to make it impossible for Murdaugh to profit from television or documentary appearances, book rights and related ventures.

Has Murdaugh attempted to profit from his infamy?    

As this news outlet previously reported, the disgraced attorney lost privileges for breaking S.C. Department of Corrections (SCDC) rules regarding prisoner communications io participate in the Fox Nation documentary. According to his SCDC inmate record, the disciplinary sanctions included the loss of telephone privileges for 60 days and loss of canteen privileges for 30 days.

As for Buster, the Fox Nation interview was his first major broadcast appearance since his father’s conviction for the murders of his mother and brother – a valuable “get” in the commerce of broadcast media. A motion to quash (.pdf) filed on his behalf claimed the subpoena “seeks information that is irrelevant to the claims in the above-captioned case, overly broad, beyond the scope of discovery, and seeks confidential and private information from a non-party.”

Murdaugh’s defense team appeared as invited celebrities at this year’s CrimeCon festival in Florida – along with lead prosecutor Creighton Waters. At this gathering, comments were made by Murdaugh’s attorneys regarding the compensation they received for representing him – which seemed curious considering their appeal over funds they hoped to claw back from the receivership. Murdaugh agreed to cash in his retirement fund and add an amount to the receivership for the benefit of victims provided he could keep $600,000 for his criminal defense – which left about $420,000 for victims. Having burned through that amount and more, his attorneys petitioned the court for an additional payment of $160,000. After their request was twice denied, they filed a appeal which is making its way through the South Carolina appellate court.

Then, in a move that seems contradictory on its face, Murdaugh’s counsel filed a motion asking the federal government to seize the receivership funds – a move that would also take away their bid to recover the $160,000 overage they are claiming to have incurred as a result of the lengthy murder trial.

Despite the insistence of Murdaugh’s team, attorneys for the government are resisting. They say it would be best to honor the process already established by the Hampton County court.

A plan for the distribution of Murdaugh’s funds is underway with the appointment of a special referee and the imposition of an October 29, 2023 deadline for claimants to submit proof in order to be considered eligible. However, only about $1.6 million remains in the receivership fund – not anywhere near enough to satisfy the multitude of claims.

At the same time, the federal government is preparing to levy a forfeiture judgment of more than $10 million against Murdaugh as part of his sentencing.

How do they anticipate collecting? Well, the discovery of a windfall paid out to benefit Alex Murdaugh – either directly or indirectly – in defiance of the court’s order could potentially boost the amount of funds available to compensate victims. Or result in a windfall for the feds.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

Callie Lyons (Provided)

Callie Lyons is a journalist, researcher, and author whose investigative work can be found in media outlets, publications, and documentaries all over the world – most recently in the Parisian newspaper Le Monde and a German documentary for ProSieben. Lyons also appears in Citizen Sleuth – a 2023 documentary exploring the genre of true crime.

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10 comments

J Monday Top fan October 14, 2023 at 12:40 pm

I am elated at the screws tightening on how Dick & Jim are getting paid. There is still a lot of Mickey Mouse going on & it is clear from the slips & inconsistencies in Dick & Jim’s claims of they are (or aren’t) being paid. All of the claims they have made are not true because they directly contradict each other. Let the truth be told.

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Michael Fadden Top fan October 16, 2023 at 8:16 am

Is Tabor Vaux, Esq. the son of Roberts Vaux, ESq., the illegitimate half-brother of Randolph Murdaugh and son of the original Buster Murdaugh? One side of the family suing the other?

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Amy Booth-Robinson Top fan October 21, 2023 at 8:59 am

From his website “Roberts Vaux, Jr., known as Tabor, was born in Beaufort and raised in Bluffton.”….hmmmm, this would be worth more investigation.

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Amelia Price Top fan October 17, 2023 at 1:09 pm

Bottom line: Alex Murdaugh is a cash cow.
1. Leave Buster out of this. He didn’t have ANYTHING to do with any of this mess.
2. The state & the feds know Alex’s trust fund is out of their respective reach.
3. Harpootlian & Griffin, no doubt, have book deals, interviews, & Hollywood lined up.
4. How much did Creighton Waters make at CrimeCon?

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VERITAS Top fan October 20, 2023 at 5:41 pm

Amelia, Amelia, Amelia. Calm down. First, you’ve insulted boovines everywhere. Secondly, we all know Lil’ Bus Bus is working with Da Da (father of Pa Pa) to keep his own bank account healthy. He’s a Murdaugh, after all. And it’s none of your damn business whether or not Waters gets public speaking money, to which he is fully entitled. Go away, you annoying, buzzing fly.

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SubZeroIQ November 5, 2023 at 4:20 am

Not so fast, Veritas.
Creighton Waters is a public employee and inquiry into even his attendance at CrimeCon is totally proper, just as is the inquiry into “Becky Boo” Hill’s riding the Alex Murdaugh conviction literally on an all-expense paid flight to New York and figuratively to sell her book.
I am in it for justice; but justice can neither be rationed nor balkanized. So, Justice for the much-unfairly maligned Buster Murdaugh is connected to justice for the much-unfairly maligned Dr. Marie Faltas.
I want to point out several things, the first of which is about Creighton Waters’ assistant at the Murdaugh murders trial, David Amadeo Fernandez.
There is indication that Fernandez is the main, if not the sole, fabricator of the unquestionably false story about a FaceBook post by the egg juror’s ex-husband to the effect that the egg juror was drinking with her ex-husband and ran her mouth about the case.
That indication is from the transcript of the in-chambers conference where Fernandez tells Judge Clifton Newman, “we know his name for what it’s worth.”
What does this have to do with Dr. Marie Faltas?
You see, the City of Columbia was paying Hatchet-for-Hire Heather $70K/year in addition to her salary as an assistant solicitor in Barney Giese’s office under the supervision of John Meadors. Hatchet-for-Hire Heather’s role was to bring criminal charges, true or false, “right or wrong” against anyone the City of Columbia or its employees or officials, or FRIENDS of its employees or officials does not like.
The City of Columbia hated, and still hates Dr. Marie Faltas for having proven that it used a fabricated Polaroid to falsely convict her of label swapping. Once Dr. Marie Faltas proved TO THE CITY OF COLUMBIA’S OWN JUDGE that the Polaroid was fabricated, “dummied-up” in the secret admission of the City of Columbia’s own legal counsel Robert G. Cooper, that municipal judge vacated Dr. Faltas’ wrongful label-swapping conviction; but the City’s legal counsel fought against Dr. Faltas all the way to the State Supreme Court and ultimately lost there.
In March 2009, Dr. Marie Faltas and her mother bought a vacant lot of land within the City of Columbia’s limits NOT knowing that the City and the adjacent property owner had ILLEGALLY and surreptitiously run a sewer connection under that land without any easement.
That sewer connection prevented, and still prevents, Dr. Faltas from building on that land what she dreamt, and still dreams, would have been South Carolina’s first completely solar single-family residence.
Dr. Faltas tried all administrative remedies to no avail. So, she sued the City and that adjacent property owner and sought a preliminary injunction to force removal and re-routing of that illegal sewer connection.
What does the City do? It asks/orders Hatchet-for-Hire Heather to bring false criminal charges against Dr. Faltas. Hatchet-for-Hire Heather does; but despite putting false witnesses and lying about their criminal records, the jury refused to give Hatchet-for-Hire Heather the conviction she sought against Dr. Marie Faltas, who had defended herself WITHOUT A LAWYER in a five-day General Sessions trial presided over by non-other than Judge Clifton Newman.
After John Meadors lost his bid for 5th circuit solicitor and Hatchet-for-Hire Heather lost her FIRST bid to prevent Dr. Marie Faltas from defending herself without a lawyer, Hatchet-for-Hire Heather hightailed it to Alan Wilson’s office after ILLEGALLY transferring the fake cases brought in General Sessions down to the City of Columbia and into the hands of David Fernandez.
There, David Fernandez used against Dr. Marie Faltas tactics AKIN TO the fake FaceBook against the egg juror.
More details to follow, God willing and FITS permitting.

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SubZeroIQ November 12, 2023 at 8:49 pm

No one in South Carolina would tell this story in its full breadth.
It can be a big scoop for you AFTER you fact-check, which should be easy enough if you have Becky Hill’s book “Behind the Doors of Justice.” It turns out not only Becky Hill and the jurors of the Alex Murdaugh case wanted “their 15 minutes” but they put their children, too, with them.
In Becky “Boo” Hill’s book page 191, you see a photo of Boo’s daughter with this caption:
Country music star, Dustin Lynch, and my “plus one” (daughter Aubrey) spent time together in NBC’s The Today Show green room.
TRANSLATION: At least Becky Hill AND HER DAUGHTER flew expense-free to New York with at least three jurors who voted guilty, each of which PRESUMABLY has a “plus one,” too.
So, at least 8 people had a luxury junket to New York paid for with the blood and tears of Paul, Maggie, and Alex Murdaugh.
It gets even worse:
At pages 59-60 of her book, Becky Hill writes:
What I learned on our flight to New York City after the trial was that three close friends of his [meaning of a male juror who voted guilty] all chipped in and paid the financially strapped juror his regular salary. For all six weeks of the trial! Several thousand dollars.
TRANSLATION: Thousands of dollars were being paid DIRECTLY from an outside source to a juror who voted guilty to enable him to stay on the jury.
WHO ARE THOSE THREE CLOSE FRIENDS? Why was it important for them that THIS juror serve on the jury? Was that even their own money or were they funnelling it from an outside source?
That is way, way, worse than anything Becky Hill admits to about her own misconduct.

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SubZeroIQ November 14, 2023 at 6:05 am

I, too, am “hunting” but NOT for myself.
And I want to know about “the money trail” TO AT LEAST ONE JUROR.
Interesting questions: (1) Was Jonathan Hill hires out of nepotism? (2) Was Jonathan fired when Andy began reporting on this? AND (3) Was Jonathan Hill involved in fabricating the fake FaceBook story against the egg juror?
Otherwise, people attack me SIMPLY BECAUSE they did NOT bother to read Becky Hill’s ENTIRE book. I DID.
I DID read Becky Hill’s ENTIRE book and am even more bothered about things others NEVER NOTICED and are not talking about.
What bothered me MOST OF ALL is the revelation in Becky Hill’s book pages 59-60 that a juror who voted guilty then flew expense-free to New York to talk about the quick verdict on national TV had received THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS to stay on the jury instead of returning to work and being replaced by an alternate.
TO ME, this is a BIGGER STORY than anything Becky Hill did or did not do.
THAT IS straight BRIBING a juror.
Who are that man’s three friends who paid him “thousands of dollars”? What was their motive for doing that?
Was that even their own money or were they funnelling it from someone else?
YOU and I do need to know all those ADDITIONAL facts. But what Becky Hill ALREADY wrote about that is shocking enough.

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SubZeroIQ November 17, 2023 at 6:52 pm

Judge Newman’s own late son had committed the “financial crime” of tax evasion but got only probation.
The maternal grandfather of South Carolina’s Justice John Kittredge had committed “the financial crimes” of price fixing; but Kittredge abused his position to get his grandfather a presidential pardon.
A still-sitting federal judge in South Carolina helped his second wife’s best friend with “the financial crime” of getting troubled-assets-assitance meant only for owner-occupied residences.
Many still-sitting or recently-retired federal judge got their positions by keeping silent on “the financial crimes” of the late Strom Thurmond paying his bi-racial daughter hush money and keeping her not free to reveal her true identity until Thurmond died.
While two wrongs or ten wrongs do not make a right, hyposcrisy needs to be stopped. If you want to condemn financial crimes, condemn them by the still-powerful, not only by those who (for one reason or another) have fallen from power.

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SubZeroIQ November 18, 2023 at 3:36 am

?”Following the money” in these cases leads to the lawyers who were (and still are) suing Alex AND BUSTER Murdaugh AND Gregg Parker for the boat crash case and for Gloria Satterfield’s death.
It was, and still is, in the interest of those lawyers to FALSELY pin the murders of Paul and Maggie Murdaugh on Alex AND to falsely pin Stephen Smith’s on Buster.
I know how that works because I WAS FALSELY ACCUSED of crimes to force me to abandon a civil lawsuit. In my case, I defended myself WITHOUT A LAWYER to a jury in a trial presided over by none other than Judge Clifton Newman; and, thank God, the jury refused to convict them the first time; and I later, STILL WITHOUT A LAWYER, got THAT SET of false criminal charges against me dismissed WITH PREJUDICE.
How do I know that Alex was wrongly convicted of the murders?
FIRST, because SOME OF THE SAME PROSECUTORS were in his case and mine: Donald Zelenka, John Meadors, Creighton Waters, Johnny James, David Fernandez, AND Sara Heather Savitz Weiss (“Hatchet-for-hire Heather”).
SECOND, because that gang used on me the same tactics they used on Alex in his murder trials.
THIRD, because I am a medical doctor with specialization experience in Pathology among other specialties although I am NOT a board-certified forensic pathologist. I know MEDICALLY the time of death is closer to 10:00 pm than to 9:00 pm.
FOURTH and now-foremost, now that I read Becky Hill’s book in its entirety, it is clear that, no only did she tamper with that jury, that jury had been tampering with itself all along INCLUDING A MALE JUROR (who voted “guilty” and convinced the not-guilty/unsure jurors to change their votes to “guilty” then flew expense-free to New York to talk about the verdict on national TV) having received “thousands of dollars” from “three friends” to stay on the jury instead of returning to work and getting replaced by an alternate.
It boggles my mind that people brag about these things and even attribute them to God, when they are crimes. It is crime enough for that juror to have received outside money to stay on that jury. It would be an even bigger crime if that outside money was being funnelled through that juror’s “friends” from, say, the lawyers suing Alex Murdaugh and Gregg Parker.
THAT is where “following the money” leads me.
Peace!

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