Murdaughs

Alex Murdaugh’s Federal Sentencing Set For April Fools Day

Alex Murdaugh will be sentenced in federal court next month.

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It’s no joke … and no fooling.

Alex Murdaugh, the disbarred South Carolina attorney, disgraced former badge-holder, convicted double-murderer and confessed fraudster who pleaded guilty to dozens of state and federal crimes, will be sentenced in federal court on April Fools Day 2024.

And based on a recent notification from U.S. district judge Richard Gergel, Murdaugh could be facing a much stiffer federal sentence than he or his attorneys anticipated when he pleaded guilty last fall …

According to a notice submitted by Gergel on Friday (March 15, 2024), the judge indicated he “may consider at the time of sentencing an upward variance from the proposed guideline range” presented by federal probation officials.

In other words, additional prison time for Murdaugh …

Murdaugh is currently serving two life sentences within the S.C. Department of Corrections (SCDC) system for the murders of his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, and younger son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh on June 7, 2021 at Moselle – the family’s 1,700-acre hunting property straddling the Salkehatchie River. He is also serving 27 years in state prison – the result of a negotiated plea for 22 state charges involving his financial schemes.

The federal charges – which include counts of conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering – involve more than $10 million Murdaugh admittedly stole or defrauded from former clients.

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His federal sentencing hearing will take place at 10:00 a.m. EDT on April 1, 2024 at the Waring Judicial Center in Charleston. S.C. In addition to a lengthy prison term, restitution is expected to be a part of Gergel’s sentence – despite Murdaugh’s purported insolvency.

If Murdaugh were to be successful in his ongoing appeal of his murder convictions, he could begin serving his time in federal prison in as few as 23 years. Were that to happen, he would be 78 when making the transfer from state to federal incarceration. Whatever happen, it is extremely unlikely Murdaugh will ever be a free man.

The 22-count federal grand jury indictment filed against Murdaugh on May 23, 2023 covered an abundance of financial crimes committed from July 2011 through October 2021. These crimes deprived law firm clients of funds they were due – while illegal loans from their accounts were made with the assistance of former Palmetto State Bank CEO Russell Laffitte.

Laffitte, incidentally, is appealing his conviction from federal prison – where he is serving a sentence of seven years.

On the civil side of the equation, an insurance-related case involving Murdaugh and another of his co-conspirators – former attorney Cory Fleming – is making its way through the federal court system. The insurance company Nautilus is suing over a settlement paid out to the heirs of Gloria Satterfield – and then stolen by Murdaugh. Murdaugh and Fleming are named in the suit along with Palmetto State Bank.

This week, Gergel denied a motion filed by Nautilus for a procedure that would allow the insurance company to seek a swift ruling from the court should Laffitte assert his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. Gergel indicated Nautilus can request relief – and any opposing party can respond – if issues arise pertaining to Laffitte’s deposition.

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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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