Attorneys representing the law firm that rebranded itself during the ‘Murdaugh Murders’ crime and corruption saga are continuing their quest to locate assets purportedly hidden by convicted killer Alex Murdaugh.
According to our sources, investigators have zeroed in on several trips made by Murdaugh to the Bahamas – and another trip he took to South America – in the months leading up to the murder of his wife and younger son two-and-a-half years ago.
Specifically, they are attempting to find out whether Murdaugh used these trips as cover to move cash assets offshore into shell companies possibly linked to unseizable bank accounts.
“They think there are offshore accounts and they are talking to some experts about how to find them,” a source familiar with the hunt told this media outlet earlier this week.
Murdaugh’s late wife, Maggie Murdaugh, was said to have accompanied her husband on one of these trips. Murdaugh traveled alone or with a “business partner” on the other journeys.
Maggie and her son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh, were brutally murdered on the evening of June 7, 2021 on the family’s hunting property in Colleton County. Alex Murdaugh was convicted of those murders at the conclusion of an internationally televised six-week trial in Walterboro, S.C. earlier this year.
Murdaugh is currently appealing those convictions – although his appeal is temporarily on hold as he seeks a new trial based on allegations of jury tampering against Colleton County clerk of court Becky Hill. An evidentiary hearing on those allegations could be held as early as next February.
Murdaugh worked for two decades at Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick (PMPED) – a prominent Hampton, S.C.-based law firm which rebranded itself as the Parker Law Group in late 2022. According to our sources, the Parker firm is working with Columbia, S.C.-based Koon, Cook & Walters in an effort to track down Murdaugh’s missing millions.
Koon’s firm was “hired to find the money, period,” our source said.
Is there any money to be found, though?
And if so, is it tied to these trips to the Caribbean and South America?
If Murdaugh had vast sums of offshore cash, he certainly didn’t act like it – or have ready access to it – as the financial noose tightened around him in 2021. During his double homicide trial, prosecutors from the office of S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson – notably Creighton Waters – meticulously documented Murdaugh’s financial desperation in the months leading up to the murders.
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Waters referred to it as a gathering storm, detailing how Murdaugh repeatedly stole money from clients, friends, law partners and family members as part of a years-long attempt to cover a string of bad investments made in the early 2000s.
The more he stole, though, the harder it was to pay it back – and the harder it became to maintain the deception, according to prosecutors. Murdaugh relied on what Waters’ referred to as an ever-escalating “velocity of cash.”
Murdaugh has claimed the money he stole was spent on his drug addiction, but few accept that theory. Those currently chasing his rumored missing millions certainly aren’t buying it.
“They don’t believe that opioid bullshit for a second,” a source helping track the cash told us. “They believe he is a lot smarter than everyone gives him credit for. They believe he has it stashed.”
How would Murdaugh have gone about stashing the money?
“He could have very easily set up offshore companies in the Caribbean – in countries like Dominca – and deposited the assets into BOC,” referring to the Bank of China.
BOC has a history of refusing to cooperate with the federal government on asset seizures tied to fraud cases – and has branches conveniently located in both Grand Cayman and Panama. Also worth noting? Macroeconomic trends continue pushing Caribbean countries away from U.S. banks and into the arms of Chinese lenders – facilitating the ability of American money launderers to park their assets in accounts federal authorities cannot touch.
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“Following U.S. regulatory changes that took place after the 2008 financial crisis, some Caribbean countries have either lost access to or been restricted from previously existing channels to U.S. banks, putting them in a precarious position,” a September 2021 paper from the Jamestown Foundation noted. “In an effort to build economic resiliency, some Caribbean countries have begun seeking new avenues for international trade finance.”
The paper went on to say that “as the regulatory environment of U.S. financial markets continues to corrode the economic security of Caribbean countries, it is inevitable that they will seek to maintain resilience.”
This shift represents “a case study of countries in the Western Hemisphere becoming closer to China not because of China’s pull, but rather because they are pushed away by the U.S.”
Did Murdaugh take advantage of this geopolitical opportunity?
If so, tracking his actions will be difficult – but not necessarily impossible.
“Don’t look where you think you’d look – look beside it,” a source who once hid money for a living told us. “If you know he went to Puerto Rico or Grand Cayman or the Bahamas and you think, ‘Oh well that’s just a vacation,’ No, it isn’t. Look how far he can get in a boat in a day. Want to find the money? Find out how long was he gone and how far could he have gone in a boat. That’s where the money is.”
Assuming any of Murdaugh’s money is recovered, plenty of people are waiting to claim it. Last month, our Callie Lyons reported on claims of approximately $160 million made against Murdaugh’s court-appointed receivership, which has identified known assets of approximately $1.76 million. Several of those claims were made by Murdaugh’s former law firm and his former law partners.
Offshore accounts in the Caribbean aren’t the only contemplated destination of stolen Murdaugh millions. As this news outlet has previously reported, “rumors regarding the ultimate disposition of Murdaugh’s assets have dominated discussion in the small South Carolina community of Hampton – from cash being stuffed into PVC pipes and buried around the family’s former Colleton County hunting property (known locally as Moselle) to gold bars being buried in the yard of an accomplice.”
Others suspect Murdaugh put the money into cryptocurrency – or was part of a sophisticated money laundering operation tied to drug smuggling.
Count on this news outlet to keep our audience in the loop in the event anything comes of this latest quest to locate the “missing Murdaugh millions.”
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 (soon to be eight) children.
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