A federal grand jury indicted convicted murderer and former South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh on 22 counts of financial fraud, including defrauding his late housekeeper’s estate and insurance companies out of millions of dollars, prosecutors said Wednesday.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in South Carolina said Murdaugh, 54, conspired with a personal injury attorney in Beaufort to raise settlement funds in the death of Murdaugh’s longtime housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who died in 2018 after what had been described as a ” trip and fall accident” in the family home.
Murdaugh is accused of asking the Beaufort attorney to write checks totaling nearly $3.5 million to a bank account that he used for his own personal enrichment, while Satterfield’s estate did not receive any of the settlement funds, prosecutors said.
A timeline of Murdaugh’s legal troubles
“Trust in our justice system begins with trust in its lawyers,” U.S. Attorney Adair Boroughs said in a statement. “South Carolinians turn to lawyers when they are most vulnerable, and in our state, those who abuse the public trust and enrich themselves through fraud, theft and self-dealing will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
This month, Murdaugh’s lawyers revealed as part of a lawsuit accusing him of life insurance fraud in the death of Satterfield, 57, that he “invented the critical facts” surrounding her first “trip and fall accident” in order to receive millions of dollars in the settlement.
Nautilus Insurance Co. had filed suit alleging that it had been defrauded.
“No dogs were involved in Gloria Satterfield’s fall on February 2, 2018,” Murdaugh’s attorneys said in the legal filing. After her death, Murdaugh “invented Ms. Satterfield’s alleged statement that dogs caused her to fall in order to force his insurance companies to make a settlement payment.”
Murdaugh’s attorneys, Jim Griffin and Richard “Dick” Harpootlian, said Wednesday that he is cooperating with the federal investigation and “expects that the charges today will be quickly resolved without a trial.”
Murdaugh was convicted in March and sentenced to life without parole for the June 2021 murders of his wife, Margaret, and younger son, Paul, in a case that captured national attention and shattered the spotless image of the well-connected South Carolina legal family . Lowcountry.
The prosecution built an extensive circumstantial case to convince jurors that Murdaugh was guilty, using electronic data and video extracted from the victims’ cellphones to suggest that only he had the motive, means and ability to kill his wife and son .