South Carolina attorney Alex Murdoff endured a dramatic fall Since his wife and son were shot in an unsolved murder in June, he was arrested on Thursday and charged with duping the sons of his former homeowner millions of dollars.
Mr Murdoff, 53, was detained at a drug detox center in Orlando, Fla., and charged with two counts of obtaining property under false pretenses, a felony with a maximum prison sentence of 10 years. He was jailed in Orlando.
The allegation stems from an agreement that Mr Murdoff and his insurer reached with the sons of the housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who died in 2018 after falling on the front steps of the Murdoff family’s rural home in Islandton, SC. After Ms. Satterfield’s death, Mr. Murdoff referred his two sons to an attorney, whom he promised would help them, the sons claimed in a recent lawsuit, but did not disclose that the lawyer, Corey Fleming, was a close friend and former college roommate.
Mr Fleming eventually negotiated a $4.3 million settlement with Murdaugh, under which Ms Satterfield’s sons, Tony Satterfield and Brian Harriott, would be paid approximately $2.8 million after attorneys’ fees. But the sons, in their latest lawsuit, said they were never told of the settlement and never received any money. Instead, according to his suit, Mr Murdoff had instructed Mr Fleming to send him money, apparently to set up a fund for Ms Satterfield’s adult sons. The lawsuit states that more than $3 million was locked into Mr. Murdoff’s personal bank account.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division also launched an investigation into the circumstances of Ms. Satterfield’s death after the coroner in Hampton County, SC, raised questions about the fact that her death was attributed to natural causes, despite the fall, And no autopsy was conducted. Ms Satterfield had suffered a brain hemorrhage and died in a hospital several weeks after the fall.
Mr Fleming insisted he was unaware that the money had not been sent to the sons, but admitted he had made a mistake in handling the matter. his law is licensed has been suspended, and his name was dropped from the title of his firm.
Two lawyers representing Ms Satterfield’s sons, Eric S. Bland and Ronnie Richter, said on Thursday it was a “bitter day” for the family.
Lawyers said Ms Satterfield’s relatives are “dealing with a betrayal of trust” and the fact that “the death of their loved one was used on clients as a vehicle to enrich others.”
The latest arrest is the second round of criminal charges against Mr. Murdoff, a descendant of a legal dynasty in the South Carolina Lowcountry, that spans more than a century.
Last month, the law firm linked to Mr. Murdoff’s family, named PMPED, asked its partners’ initials to resign after reporting that they had millions of dollars stolen from the firm and from the customers.
On 4 September, Mr. Murdog brought one of his cousins, Curtis Edward Smith, to the side of the road and asked Mr. Smith to kill him so that his death was treated as a homicide rather than a suicide, according to the first round of criminal charges against him. . Mr. Murdoff has acknowledged the effort; His lawyers said he feared that his eldest son, Richard Murdoff, who goes by Buster, would not be able to deposit on his $10 million life insurance policy if his death was ruled a suicide.
Mr. Murdog survived the shooting with a minor head injury. Mr Smith has refused to pull the trigger, saying the gun went off while trying to stop Mr Murdog from shooting himself.
Understand ‘Murder Murder’
A South Carolina mystery. The unraveling of the life of a prominent lawyer, Alex Murdog, is at the center of the huge saga of mysterious deaths – including the unsolved murders of his wife and son – and multimillion-dollar fraud charges. Here are five things to know about the matter:
Mr Murdog was accused in that case Along with insurance fraud and filing false police reports. Mr. Smith was charged with aiding in Mr. Murdog’s suicide, as well as other gun charges, all of which he has denied.
Murdoff’s lawyers said in a statement that he would be returned to South Carolina and would appear before a magistrate judge for a bond hearing on Friday.
“Alex intends to cooperate fully with this investigation as he has the investigation into the murders of his wife and son,” said attorneys Dick Harputlian and Jim Griffin. “He deeply regrets that his actions have distracted from efforts to solve his murders.”
The murders of Mr. Murdaugh’s wife, 52-year-old Maggie, and their younger son, 22-year-old Paul, remain unsolved. both were shot to death, and their bodies were discovered in June by Mr Murdoff at the family dog kennel, next to their home.
At the time of his death, Paul Murdog, a student at the University of South Carolina, was facing charges for a boat colliding with a bridge, killing one of his five passengers, Mallory Beach.
Mark Keel, the head of the South Carolina law enforcement division, said Thursday that Mr Murdog’s arrest is “only one more step in the long process of justice for the many victims in these investigations.”
He added that the agents “will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of those who were victimized by Alex Murdaugh and others.”