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Assassin Alex Murdaugh Sentenced to 40 Years for Federal Monetary Crimes

First former S.C. Trial Legal professionals’ President Alex Murdaugh was convicted for killing his spouse and son. Now he’s sentenced to 40 further years for monetary crimes as nicely.

CHARLESTON, S.C. — Richard Alexander “Alex” Murdaugh, 55, of Hampton, was sentenced to 40 years in jail for 22 federal monetary crimes, together with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and financial institution fraud; financial institution fraud; wire fraud; and cash laundering. 

Murdaugh was a private harm legal professional at a legislation agency in Hampton, South Carolina. He pleaded responsible to 22 federal crimes in September 2023, admitting to participating in three totally different schemes to acquire cash and property from his private harm shoppers.

In a single scheme, Murdaugh admitted that from in or round July 2011 till at the very least October 2021, Murdaugh conspired along with his banker, Russell Laffitte, to commit wire fraud and financial institution fraud. Murdaugh requested Laffitte to function private consultant or conservator for quite a few private harm shoppers. Laffitte collected a whole lot of 1000’s of {dollars} in charges as private consultant or conservator for Murdaugh’s private harm shoppers. 

As a part of the scheme, Murdaugh directed legislation agency workers to make settlement checks payable to “Palmetto State Financial institution.” The checks have been drawn on Murdaugh’s legislation agency’s belief account and recognized the private harm shoppers on the memo strains. Murdaugh then had the checks delivered to Laffitte, who distributed the checks for Murdaugh’s profit, together with to repay private loans and for private bills and money withdrawals. Murdaugh pleaded responsible to 1 depend of conspiracy to commit wire and financial institution fraud, one depend of financial institution fraud, and two counts of wire fraud related to this scheme. 

In November 2022, Laffitte was convicted on six federal prices for conspiracy to commit wire and financial institution fraud, financial institution fraud, wire fraud, and misapplication of financial institution funds for his position on this scheme. In August 2023, Laffitte was sentenced to seven years in federal jail.

In a second scheme, from at the very least September 2005 till at the very least September 2021, Murdaugh obtained cash from his shoppers and his legislation agency by the use of false pretenses. As a part of the scheme, he routed and redirected shoppers’ settlement funds to personally enrich himself, together with by:

Alex Murdaugh monetary crimes

  • Drafting, or directing legislation agency workers to draft, disbursement sheets to ship settlement funds to Murdaugh’s financial institution accounts with out correct disclosure or consumer or legislation agency approval;
  • Claiming funds held within the legislation agency’s belief account as legal professional’s charges and directing the disbursement of these funds for his profit;
  • Claiming and accumulating legal professional’s charges on faux or nonexistent annuities;
  • Creating fraudulent “bills” that have been by no means incurred on consumer issues and directing the disbursement of settlement funds to pay the cited prices, together with claimed medical bills, building bills, and airline bills;
  • Directing different attorneys with whom he was related on consumer issues to disburse legal professional’s charges on to him, fairly than appropriately routing the charges by the legislation agency; and
  • Intercepting insurance coverage proceeds meant for beneficiaries and depositing them straight into his private account.

Murdaugh admitted that in September 2015, he created a checking account within the identify of “Forge,” presenting as a reliable company for structuring insurance coverage settlements. Murdaugh was the proprietor of and the one licensed signer on this “faux Forge” account. From in or round Might 2017 by at the very least July 2021, Murdaugh funneled stolen private harm settlements by the “faux Forge” account. Murdaugh pleaded responsible to a few counts of wire fraud and 14 counts of cash laundering referring to the theft of consumer cash utilizing the “faux Forge” account.

Lastly, Murdaugh admitted that, from in or round February 2018 till at the very least October 2020, Murdaugh conspired with Beaufort private harm legal professional Cory Fleming to defraud the property of Murdaugh’s former housekeeper and Murdaugh’s home-owner’s insurance coverage carriers. In February 2018, Murdaugh’s housekeeper handed away after a fall at Murdaugh’s residence. Murdaugh beneficial that the housekeeper’s property rent Fleming to characterize them and file a declare towards Murdaugh to gather from his home-owner’s insurance coverage insurance policies. 

Murdaugh’s insurance coverage corporations settled the property’s declare for $505,000 and $3,800,000. Murdaugh admitted that he directed Fleming to retain a whole lot of 1000’s of {dollars} in settlement funds for their very own private profit, representing these funds as “prosecution bills” to the state courtroom.  Murdaugh and Fleming knew the funds didn’t belong to them and that there have been no reliable prosecution bills. Murdaugh and Fleming decreased Fleming’s legal professional’s charges, and Murdaugh knew he would steal the extra funds. 

Murdaugh directed Fleming to draft three checks totaling $3,483,431.95 made payable to “Forge.” Murdaugh then deposited the checks into his “faux Forge” account and used the funds for his personal private enrichment. The property didn’t obtain any of the settlement funds. Murdaugh pleaded responsible to conspiracy to commit wire fraud for his position on this scheme.

Fleming pleaded responsible to a conspiracy cost for his position on this scheme. In August 2023, he was sentenced to 46 months in federal jail.

Murdaugh’s victims turned to him once they have been significantly susceptible, after struggling critical accidents and shedding family members,” mentioned Adair F. Boroughs, U.S. Legal professional for the District of South Carolina. “They put their belief in him as their lawyer, and he betrayed them. His crimes have been chilly, calculated, and brazen, and he earned day by day of his 40-year sentence. We hope that it supplies at the very least some closure to his victims.

Justice was served as we speak and a sentence of this magnitude ought to warning anybody who engages in monetary crimes,” mentioned Steve Jensen, Particular Agent in Cost of the FBI Columbia Discipline Workplace. “The defendant’s actions undermine the integrity of our monetary methods and trigger mistrust. Our message is evident: We are going to maintain those that commit monetary fraud accountable, and they are going to be met with extreme penalties.”

“Regulation enforcement working collectively at each degree is important to fixing crimes and holding offenders accountable,” mentioned Chief Mark Keel of the South Carolina Regulation Enforcement Division. “I’ve at all times mentioned from day one in all this case, and each case SLED investigates, is about following the info irrespective of the place they might lead. At the moment is one other step ahead for justice in South Carolina.”

United States District Decide Richard M. Gergel imposed the sentence for Alex Murdaugh monetary crimes:

  • 360 months for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and financial institution fraud; financial institution fraud; and two counts of wire fraud affecting a monetary establishment, all to run concurrently.
  • 240 months for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and three counts of wire fraud, to run concurrently to one another and to the 360-month sentences.
  • 120 months for 14 counts of cash laundering, to run concurrently to one another and consecutive to the 360- and 240-month sentences.

Murdaugh’s 480-month federal sentence will probably be served concurrently along with his energetic state sentences for the murders of his spouse and son and the state monetary offenses to which Murdaugh beforehand pleaded responsible.

The courtroom additionally ordered Murdaugh to pay $8,762,731.88 in restitution to his victims and imposed a $10,034,377.95 forfeiture order for Murdaugh’s ill-gotten positive factors.

The case was investigated by the FBI Columbia Discipline Workplace and the South Carolina Regulation Enforcement Division. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emily Limehouse, Kathleen Stoughton, and Winston Holliday are prosecuting the case.