Mr. Murdaugh, the scion of a ineligible dynasty successful South Carolina, is accused of pocketing $2.8 cardinal successful colony wealth that was expected to spell to the housekeeper’s family.
Oct. 14, 2021Updated 1:45 p.m. ET
Alex Murdaugh, the South Carolina lawyer who has endured a melodramatic downfall since his woman and lad were changeable successful an unsolved sidesplitting successful June, was arrested connected Thursday and charged with swindling millions of dollars from the sons of his erstwhile housekeeper.
Mr. Murdaugh, 53, was taken into custody astatine a cause detox installation successful Orlando, Fla., and charged with 2 counts of obtaining spot by mendacious pretenses, a felony with a maximum punishment of 10 years successful prison. He was booked into a jailhouse successful Orlando.
The charges stem from a colony that Mr. Murdaugh and his insurers reached with the sons of the housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who died successful 2018 aft falling connected the beforehand steps of the Murdaugh family’s agrarian location successful Islandton, S.C. Following her death, Mr. Murdaugh referred her 2 sons to a lawyer helium promised would assistance them, the sons claimed successful a caller lawsuit, but helium did not disclose that the lawyer, Cory Fleming, was a adjacent person and erstwhile assemblage roommate.
Mr. Fleming yet negotiated a $4.3 cardinal colony with Mr. Murdaugh nether which Ms. Satterfield’s sons, Tony Satterfield and Brian Harriott, would beryllium paid $2.8 cardinal aft lawyers’ fees. But the sons said successful their latest suit that they were ne'er told astir the colony and received nary money. Instead, according to their suit, Mr. Murdaugh had directed Mr. Fleming to nonstop the wealth to him, ostensibly to acceptable up a money for Ms. Satterfield’s big sons. More than $3 million, the suit said, coiled up successful Mr. Murdaugh’s idiosyncratic slope account.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division besides opened an probe into the circumstances of Ms. Satterfield’s decease aft the coroner successful Hampton County, S.C., raised questions astir the information that her decease had been attributed to earthy causes, contempt the fall, and that nary autopsy was conducted. Ms. Satterfield suffered a encephalon hemorrhage and died astatine a infirmary respective weeks aft the fall.
Mr. Fleming has insisted that helium was unaware that the wealth had not been forwarded to the sons, but helium acknowledged that helium made mistakes successful his handling of the case. His instrumentality licence has been suspended, and his sanction was removed from the rubric of his firm.
The 2 lawyers who are present representing Ms. Satterfield’s sons, Eric S. Bland and Ronnie Richter, said connected Thursday that it was a “bittersweet day” for the family.
Ms. Satterfield’s relatives “are dealing with the betrayal of trust” and the information “that their loved one’s decease was utilized arsenic a conveyance to enrich others implicit the clients,” the lawyers said.
The latest apprehension is the 2nd circular of transgression charges against Mr. Murdaugh, the scion of a ineligible dynasty successful the South Carolina Lowcountry that extends backmost much than a century.
Last month, the instrumentality steadfast associated with Mr. Murdaugh’s family, named P.M.P.E.D. aft the initials of its partners, asked him to resign aft reporting that helium had stolen millions of dollars from the steadfast and from clients.
On Sept. 4, Mr. Murdaugh brought 1 of his cousins, Curtis Edward Smith, to the broadside of a roadworthy and asked Mr. Smith to termination him truthful that his decease would beryllium ruled a execution alternatively than a suicide, according to the archetypal circular of transgression charges brought against him. Mr. Murdaugh has acknowledged the attempt; his lawyers said helium feared that his older son, Richard “Buster” Murdaugh, would not beryllium capable to cod connected his $10 cardinal beingness security argumentation if his decease was ruled a suicide.
Mr. Murdaugh survived the shooting with a insignificant caput wound. Mr. Smith has denied pulling the trigger, saying the weapon went disconnected arsenic helium attempted to halt Mr. Murdaugh from shooting himself.
Mr. Murdaugh was charged successful that case with security fraud and filing a mendacious constabulary report. Mr. Smith was charged with trying to assistance Mr. Murdaugh’s termination arsenic good arsenic different weapon charges, each of which helium has denied.
Mr. Murdaugh’s lawyers said successful a connection that helium would beryllium returned to South Carolina and that helium would apt look earlier a magistrate justice for a enslaved proceeding connected Friday.
“Alex intends to afloat cooperate with this investigation, arsenic helium has with the probe into the execution of his woman and son,” said the lawyers, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin. “He profoundly regrets that his actions person distracted from the efforts to lick their murders.”
The killings of Mr. Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie, 52, and their younger son, Paul, 22, stay unsolved. Both were shot to death, and their bodies were discovered by Mr. Murdaugh successful June adjacent the family’s canine kennel, adjacent to their home.
At the clip of his death, Paul Murdaugh, a pupil astatine the University of South Carolina, was facing charges of drunkenly crashing a vessel into a bridge, sidesplitting 1 of his 5 passengers, Mallory Beach, who was thrown from the boat.
Chief Mark Keel of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said connected Thursday that the apprehension of Mr. Murdaugh was “merely 1 much measurement successful a agelong process for justness for the galore victims successful these investigations.”
He said agents would “continue to enactment tirelessly connected behalf of those who were victimized by Alex Murdaugh and others.”