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Disgraced Former Attorney Alex Murdaugh Is Hit With New Tax Evasion Charges

Authorities allege Alex Murdaugh failed to report nearly $7 million in earnings he gained through "illegal acts" as reported income on his taxes from 2011-2019.

By Jill Sederstrom
The Alex Murdaugh Case, Explained

Disgraced former attorney Alex Murdaugh is now facing tax evasion charges as his legal issues continue to mount.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced Friday that Murdaugh — who is already charged with killing his wife and youngest son along with a series of other financial crimes — is now facing nine new counts of willful attempt to evade or defeat a tax for allegedly failing to report nearly $7 million in earnings.

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The South Carolina State Grand Jury indicted Murdaugh on the new charges after concluding that the former attorney failed to report a total of $6,954,639 they believe he earned through “illegal acts” from 2011 to 2019.

Prosecutors contend that Murdaugh earned the money through an “ongoing scheme to defraud” his former law firm, Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick (PMPED) and his clients of legal settlement proceeds, instead using the money over the years for his own personal use, according to an indictment released in the case.

Alex Murdaugh is escorted out of the Colleton County Courthouse

As a result, Murdaugh allegedly owes the state $486,819 in unpaid taxes, prosecutors said.

Murdaugh was once considered a prominent legal scion hailing from a family with deep roots in South Carolina’s low country, but that image began to crumble in September of 2021 when someone from his law firm discovered he had allegedly been stealing from the firm, prompting a thorough investigation into his financial activities.

In the months following, Murdaugh was accused of schemes to defraud his law firm, clients and others of nearly $8.8 million — including a scheme to steal a settlement meant for the family of his own housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield.

Murdaugh is now facing a staggering total of 99 charges laid out in 19 different indictments against him, authorities said.

He is also accused of killing his wife Maggie, 52, and youngest son Paul, 22, in June of 2021 at the family’s Colleton County hunting compound.

The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office argued in a motion filed earlier this month and obtained by Oxygen.com, that Murdaugh carried out the murders in an alleged attempt to cover up the financial crimes and fraud he believed were about to come to light.

Ultimately, the murders served as Murdaugh’s means to shift the focus away from himself and buy himself some additional time to try and prevent his financial crimes from being uncovered, which — if revealed — would have resulted in personal, legal, and financial ruin for Murdaugh,” Senior Assistant Deputy Attorney General Creighton Waters wrote.

They argued that after the shocking killings people immediately began to treat Murdaugh as “the victim of an unspeakable tragedy” and cast aside inquiries into his activities until the probe in September of 2021 once again cast him into the spotlight.

Murdaugh has pleaded not guilty to the killings.

His attorneys received a legal victory on Monday after Judge Clifton Newman ordered prosecutors to produce materials “concerning the expert opinion of Tom Bevel of Bevel, Garner & Associates, LLC,” according to the order obtained by Oxygen.com.

Bevel, Garner & Associates is described on its website as a “forensic consulting and education group.”

Bevel, the company’s president, is a retired commander with the Oklahoma City Police Department who now serves as a crime scene consultant and expert in crime scene reconstruction and bloodstain pattern analysis.

Newman ordered prosecutors to provide the defense with all “written or recorded communications to or from Mr. Bevel,” as well as all electronic or physical documents that had been sent or received by Bevel in regards to the case, the case file, and Photoshop document files sent to the firm related to a white T-shirt Murdaugh had been wearing on the night of the murders.

Murdaugh’s defense team has previously alleged in court documents that no traces of human blood were initially found on the T-shirt but that Bevel was later pressured into changing his opinion after doing a second analysis using photographs of the shirt, WCBD reports.

According to defense, the T-shirt was destroyed by the state and no longer available for further testing.

The state did not object to disclosing the material requested by the defense, Newman wrote.