Murdaugh Accused of Scamming Late Housekeeper's Family

He's been indicted on 22 fraud-related count
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2023 12:09 PM CDT
Murdaugh Indicted on 22 Financial Fraud Charges
Alex Murdaugh speaks with his legal team before he is sentenced to two consecutive life sentences for the murder of his wife and son by Judge Clifton Newman at the Colleton County Courthouse, March 3, 2023, in Walterboro, SC.   (Joshua Boucher/The State via AP, Pool, File)

Alex Murdaugh was a crooked lawyer as well as a murderer, according to a federal indictment. The disbarred South Carolina attorney has been indicted on 22 federal fraud-related charges, including wire fraud and bank fraud, though his lawyers believe the case will be resolved before it goes to trial, CNN reports. According to the US Attorney's Office in South Carolina, Murdaugh "routed and redirected clients’ settlement funds to personally enrich himself" while he was working as a personal injury attorney. The office says Murdaugh scammed clients from at least 2005 until 2021, conspiring with his banker, Russell Laffitte, for much of that time. Laffitte was convicted on six federal charges last year and is awaiting sentencing.

Some of the charges are connected to the death of Gloria Satterfield, the Murdaugh family's housekeeper for more than 20 years, NBC reports. She died after a reported "trip and fall" at the Murdaugh home in 2018. Murdaugh's insurers settled claims from her family for around $3.5 million, but he allegedly directed the funds to accounts he controlled while the family received nothing. Earlier this month, Murdaugh's lawyers acknowledged that he had lied about details of the accident, falsely claiming that dogs had caused Satterfield's fall. He invented a statement "to force his insurers to make a settlement payment," his lawyers said.

"Trust in our legal system begins with trust in its lawyers," US Attorney Adair F. Boroughs said in a statement. "South Carolinians turn to lawyers when they are at their most vulnerable, and in our state, those who abuse the public’s trust and enrich themselves by fraud, theft, and self-dealing will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." Murdaugh attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin said Wednesday that he has been cooperating with investigators and they "anticipate that the charges brought today will be quickly resolved without a trial." In March, Murdaugh received two consecutive life sentences with no hope of parole after he was found guilty of killing his wife and son. (The 54-year-old has many other legal woes.)

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