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Alex Murdaugh Agrees to Plead Guilty to 22 Federal Charges for Defrauding Clients Out of Millions
Murdaugh was indicted in May on multiple fraud and money laundering charges, including scamming his personal injury clients.
Disbarred South Carolina attorney and convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh is expected to plead guilty in court to 22 federal charges relating to him allegedly stealing millions of dollars from clients over a period of more than a decade.
The 55-year-old will appear in court Thursday morning after working out a plea agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice for nearly two dozen federal charges, including two counts of conspiracy to commit fraud, one count of bank fraud, five counts of wire fraud, and 14 counts of money laundering, according to the documents filed Monday and obtained by Charleston-based ABC News 4.
Murdaugh, who is currently serving life in prison for the June 2021 murders of his wife and youngest son, was indicted in May for his alleged involvement in multiple schemes spanning from 2005 to 2021 and including defrauding his personal injury clients.
The victims included the relatives of the Murdaugh family housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who suffered a fatal fall at the family’s Colleton County home in 2018. In that instance, he's accused of having a lawyer friend deposit insurance settlement funds from Satterfield's death into a personal account he used rather than giving the money to the housekeeper's estate.
Some of the charges carry a maximum sentence of 30 years while most carry a maximum sentence of 20 years. Per the deal, the government will recommend Murdaugh carry out his sentences concurrently.
According to the plea agreement, Murdaugh will have to follow a series of conditions, including paying restitution of at least $9 million and cooperating with investigators through a provision of “full, complete and truthful information about all criminal activities.”
The legal scion will also be required to take a federal polygraph test in cooperation with the investigation.
Murdaugh is scheduled for a plea hearing at 10 a.m. Thursday at the U.S. District Court in Charleston, according to The Greenville News. A judge still has to approve the deal.
Murdaugh appeared in court last week for the first time since his double murder conviction for a hearing on dozens of state charges for alleged financial crimes. A trial date for those alleged crimes is set to begin November 27.
The convict’s lawyers tried to push the state trial back, arguing that they don’t believe their client would get a fair trial within the same year of his murder trial.
“Where are you going to get a jury? Mars?,” defense attorney Dick Harpootlian asked Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman. The judge said there shouldn't be an issue finding people capable of serving on a jury.
Murdaugh was convicted in March for fatally shooting his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, and their son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh, on June 7, 2021. In a motion filed earlier this month, Murdaugh’s defense requested a new murder trial for their client, accusing Colleton County Clerk of Court Rebecca Hill of tampering with the jury.
Hill is accused of telling the jurors not to trust Murdaugh during his testimony, pressuring them to reach a verdict, and of having private conversations with the jury foreperson, according to the Associated Press.