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Alex Murdaugh Sentenced to 40 Years for Financial Crimes: "I Am Filled With Sorrow"

The disgraced South Carolina attorney is already serving life behind bars for the 2021 shooting deaths of his wife and son. 

By Jax Miller

A federal judge sentenced attorney-turned-convicted-killer Alex Murdaugh to 40 years in prison for financial crimes.

On Monday, April 1, 2024, U.S. District Judge Richard M. Gergel sentenced Murdaugh, 55, to serve 480 months behind bars for fraud, money laundering, and other financial-related crimes, according to Fox News. The ruling comes seven months after the defendant pleaded guilty and admitted to fleecing his personal injury clients and law firm out of millions of dollars between 2005 and 2021.

Prosecutors stated Murdaugh stole millions to support his lifestyle, which included his admitted uncontrollable addiction to opioids, as previously reported. Six million dollars remains unaccounted for.

Per Monday’s ruling, Murdaugh was ordered to pay more than $8.7 million to the victims, reported CNN.

“I do want you to know and all of the victims to know I am filled with sorrow,” he said during sentencing, according to Fox News. “I am filled with remorse. I am filled with guilt.”

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For each of the 22 federal counts, Murdaugh faced 20 to 30 years behind bars, though, according to NBC News, Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Limehouse asked the Judge to sentence Murdaugh to 30 years, stating, “We don’t believe he is capable of living a law-abiding life as a member of society.”

Judge Gergel sentenced Murdaugh to more.

“This is a reprehensible crime that deserves the most serious of sanction,” said the Judge.

What to know about Alex Murdaugh

Alex Murdaugh Arrives In Court smiling wearing an orange jumpsuit

Murdaugh’s sentence will run concurrently with similar financial crimes he was convicted of at the state level, to which he pleaded guilty in November 2023 and received a 27-year sentence. This, of course, is on top of the life sentence he is currently serving after a South Carolina jury found him guilty of the murders of his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and their youngest son, Paul Murdaugh, 22.

On June 7, 2021, mother and son were found shot to death near the dog kennels of their family’s rural estate in Colleton County.

The double murder gained significant media attention, especially since Paul had pleaded not guilty to operating a boat under the influence during the 2019 boat crash that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach, a case shrouded in whispers of alleged coverup.

Paul was murdered before the case made it to trial.

At the time, Alex Murdaugh, whose family built a dynasty in South Carolina’s low country since the 18th century, faced mounting legal trouble as suspicions grew over missing monies. Prosecutors at the murder trial claimed Murdaugh killed his wife and son to take the focus off of him as he faced “personal, legal, and financial ruin.”

The high-profile saga was captured in the Oxygen true crime special, Alex Murdaugh: Death. Deception. Power.

More About the Recent Sentence

Murdaugh’s recent sentence was called into question on Tuesday, March 26, 2024  ­— just days before the hearing  — when federal authorities claimed he failed a polygraph test in October 2023 and cited their intentions of revoking their initial plea agreement. Authorities said the lie detector test results proved Murdaugh was untruthful about the whereabouts of the missing $6 million, as well as the alleged criminal involvement of a second, unnamed attorney.

As part of the plea agreement, Murdaugh agreed to be truthful when hooked to the polygraph.

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“The scope and pervasiveness of Murdaugh’s deceit is staggering,” prosecutors stated in their March filing, according to ABC News. “He ranks as one of the most prolific fraudsters this state has ever seen. When the house of cards began to fall, Murdaugh murdered his wife and son.”

Murdaugh’s defense, however, accused the individual administering the lie detector test of engaging in “odd conduct” during the interview and further chastised the prosecution for sealing the test results from the public.

Alex Murdaugh’s Release Date

Alex Murdaugh Leaving Court Handcuffs

For the March 2023 murder convictions in South Carolina, Murdaugh is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Although Murdaugh previously said he wished to “take responsibility” for his financial-related crimes, he maintains he is innocent of the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.

So far, there is no foreseeable date for Murdaugh to be released from prison. However, on March 1, 2024, Attorney Dick Harpootlian announced their plans to appeal the murder convictions within a 10-day period.

The announcement came four months after Murdaugh’s camp filed a motion requesting a new trial, partly based on alleged jury tampering by the Colleton County Court Clerk Rebecca Hill. Murdaugh’s team accused Hill – who co-wrote a book about the case — of seeking celebrity status by handing business cards to the jurors and making comments that suggested a guilty verdict would yield more profit. 

On January 29, 2024, Judge Jean Toal denied Murdaugh’s request for a new trial, according to NBC News.

“I simply do not believe that our South Carolina Supreme Court requires a new trial in a very lengthy trial on the strength of some fleeting and foolish comments by a publicity-seeking clerk of court,” said Judge Toal.

Learn more from the original true crime special Alex Murdaugh: Death. Deception. Power., available to watch now on Oxygen.