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Alex Murdaugh has been extradited back to South Carolina as new details emerge about the $4.3 million insurance scheme investigators say he engaged in after his housekeeper Gloria Satterfield’s death.
Murdaugh was booked into the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Columbia on Saturday after being extradited from Florida where he had been attending a drug rehabilitation program, according to jail records.
Murdaugh was arrested leaving the treatment program last week on two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses in connection with a $4.3 million wrongful death settlement case filed in Satterfield’s death.
Satterfield—the family’s longtime housekeeper—"fell and hit her head” while at the Murdaugh’s Islandton, South Carolina home on Feb. 2, 2018, according to arrest warrants in the case issued by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and obtained by Oxygen.com.
“Ms. Satterfield later had a stroke, went into cardiac arrest, and died on Feb. 26, 2018,” investigators said.
Eric Bland, an attorney representing the Satterfield family from the Bland Richter law firm, told CNN that the housekeeper died after she tripped over the Murdaugh’s four dogs.
After her death, authorities allege that Murdaugh “coordinated with” Satterfield’s family to “sue himself in order to seek an insurance settlement with the stated intent to give the proceeds to the Satterfield family to pay for funeral expenses and monetary expenses” for her children.
He encouraged the family to hire attorney Cory Fleming—who had been Murdaugh’s close friend—to represent them and Fleming worked to secure a $4.3 million settlement with the insurance company on their behalf.
The agreement included a stipulation that $2,765,000 would go to the Satterfield family, but investigators say her sons were kept in the dark about the progress of the case.
“The Satterfield family were never notified of the settlements nor received any of the proceeds from them, and the settlement agreement was not properly filed in the court record,” the warrants allege.
Investigators said on May 13, 2019, Fleming wrote a check in the amount of $2,961,911.95 addressed to “Forge,” a bank account created and owned by Murdaugh himself.
Although Forge Consulting LLC is a legitimate company that handles insurance settlements, investigators said the firm was not involved in the settlement.
Authorities have accused Murdaugh of titling the account “Forge” in an effort to hide the misappropriated funds.
Satterfield’s two sons, Michael Satterfield and Brian Harriott, reached a settlement agreement with Fleming, his firm Moss, Kuhn and Fleming and their insurance provider this month after filing a lawsuit against them in September.
As part of the agreement, Fleming and the firm agreed to pay the estate back for all legal fees and expenses received from the $4.3 million settlement, according to a statement from the Bland Richter law office.
“In addition, the firm’s malpractice insurance carrier agreed to pay to the Estate their full policy limits of insurance,” they wrote, adding that Fleming had “stepped forward and did the right thing.”
In response to the latest allegations revealed in the arrest warrant, Bland insisted to CNN that the family had made “an appropriate negligence claim” after her death and did not fabricate anything.
“The claim was not fabricated and Alex appropriately referred them to an attorney,” he said via email. “The estate was unaware of the extremely close relationship though between Fleming and Alex Murdaugh which was not fully disclosed.”
In light of the allegations, Fleming’s law license has been suspended, according to the Island Packet. His law firm has also erased his presence by renaming their firm Moss & Kuhn.
Murdaugh is scheduled to appear in court for a bond hearing on Tuesday at the Richland County Courthouse in Columbia.
His arrest comes months after his wife Maggie, 52, and youngest son, Paul, were found dead at the family’s hunting compound in June.
Murdaugh called 911 on the night of June 7 to report that he had come home and discovered both Maggie and Paul shot to death near the dog kennels on the property. Investigators have released few details about the case and no arrests have been made to date.
An upcoming Oxygen special, "Alex Murdaugh. Death. Deception. Power.," about Alex Murdaugh will premiere Sunday, December 12 at 8/7c on Oxygen.
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