Alex Murdaugh Charged With Swindling Sons of Dead Housekeeper

Alex Murdaugh, the South Carolina lawyer who has endured a dramatic downfall since his spouse and son have been shot in an unsolved killing in June, was arrested on Thursday and charged with swindling tens of millions of {dollars} from the sons of his former housekeeper.

Mr. Murdaugh, 53, was taken into custody at a drug detox middle in Orlando, Fla., and charged with two counts of acquiring property by false pretenses, a felony with a most penalty of 10 years in jail. He was booked right into a jail in Orlando.

The costs stem from a settlement that Mr. Murdaugh and his insurers reached with the sons of the housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who died in 2018 after falling on the entrance steps of the Murdaugh household’s rural residence in Islandton, S.C. Following Ms. Satterfield’s dying, Mr. Murdaugh referred her two sons to a lawyer he promised would assist them, the sons claimed in a current lawsuit, however he didn’t disclose that the lawyer, Cory Fleming, was a detailed good friend and former school roommate.

Mr. Fleming ultimately negotiated a $4.3 million settlement with Mr. Murdaugh beneath which Ms. Satterfield’s sons, Tony Satterfield and Brian Harriott, can be paid about $2.8 million after attorneys’ charges. But the sons mentioned of their newest lawsuit that they have been by no means instructed in regards to the settlement and by no means acquired any cash. Instead, in keeping with their swimsuit, Mr. Murdaugh had directed Mr. Fleming to ship the cash to him, ostensibly to arrange a fund for Ms. Satterfield’s grownup sons. More than $3 million, the lawsuit mentioned, wound up in Mr. Murdaugh’s private checking account.

Credit…Orange County Department of Corrections

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division additionally opened an investigation into the circumstances of Ms. Satterfield’s dying after the coroner in Hampton County, S.C., raised questions on the truth that her dying had been attributed to pure causes, regardless of the autumn, and that no post-mortem was performed. Ms. Satterfield had a mind hemorrhage and died at a hospital a number of weeks after the autumn.

Mr. Fleming has insisted that he was unaware that the cash had not been forwarded to the sons, however he acknowledged that he made errors in his dealing with of the case. His legislation license has been suspended, and his identify was faraway from the title of his agency.

The two attorneys who are actually representing Ms. Satterfield’s sons, Eric S. Bland and Ronnie Richter, mentioned on Thursday that it was a “bittersweet day” for the household.

Ms. Satterfield’s kinfolk “are dealing with the betrayal of trust” and the actual fact “that their loved one’s death was used as a vehicle to enrich others over the clients,” the attorneys mentioned.

The newest arrest is the second spherical of legal costs in opposition to Mr. Murdaugh, the scion of a authorized dynasty within the South Carolina Lowcountry that extends again greater than a century.

Last month, the legislation agency related to Mr. Murdaugh’s household, named P.M.P.E.D. after the initials of its companions, requested him to resign after reporting that he had stolen tens of millions of {dollars} from the agency and from shoppers.

On Sept. 4, Mr. Murdaugh introduced one of his cousins, Curtis Edward Smith, to the facet of a street and requested Mr. Smith to kill him in order that his dying can be dominated a homicide quite than a suicide, in keeping with the primary spherical of legal costs introduced in opposition to him. Mr. Murdaugh has acknowledged the try; his attorneys mentioned he feared that his older son, Richard Murdaugh, who goes by Buster, wouldn’t have the ability to gather on his $10 million life insurance coverage coverage if his dying was dominated a suicide.

Mr. Murdaugh survived the taking pictures with a minor head wound. Mr. Smith has denied pulling the set off, saying the gun went off as he tried to cease Mr. Murdaugh from taking pictures himself.

Mr. Murdaugh was charged in that case with insurance coverage fraud and submitting a false police report. Mr. Smith was charged with attempting to help Mr. Murdaugh’s suicide in addition to with different gun costs, all of which he has denied.

Mr. Murdaugh’s attorneys mentioned in a press release that he can be returned to South Carolina and that he would most definitely seem earlier than a Justice of the Peace choose for a bond listening to on Friday.

“Alex intends to fully cooperate with this investigation, as he has with the investigation into the murder of his wife and son,” mentioned the attorneys, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin. “He deeply regrets that his actions have distracted from the efforts to solve their murders.”

The killings of Mr. Murdaugh’s spouse, Maggie, 52, and their youthful son, Paul, 22, stay unsolved. Both have been shot to dying, and their our bodies have been found by Mr. Murdaugh in June close to the household’s canine kennel, subsequent to their residence.

At the time of his dying, Paul Murdaugh, a pupil on the University of South Carolina, was going through costs of drunkenly crashing a ship right into a bridge, killing one of his 5 passengers, Mallory Beach, who was thrown from the boat.

Chief Mark Keel of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division mentioned on Thursday that the arrest of Mr. Murdaugh was “merely one more step in a long process for justice for the many victims in these investigations.”

He mentioned brokers would “continue to work tirelessly on behalf of those who were victimized by Alex Murdaugh and others.”

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