Attorney Alex Murdaugh indicted on two dozen financial crimes
By Dianne Gallagher, CNN
(CNN) -- Suspended South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh has been indicted on more than two dozen new financial crimes by a state grand jury, which alleged schemes to "defraud victims of and thereafter launder" nearly $5 million in five different counties.
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson's office announced Friday a state grand jury issued five indictments with a total of 27 charges against Murdaugh.
The indictments include four counts of Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent; seven counts of Obtaining Signature or Property by False Pretenses; seven counts of Money Laundering; eight counts of Computer Crimes; and one count of Forgery.
The majority of the indictments center on cases and victims not previously known to the public, like a highway patrolman injured in the line of duty, from whom prosecutors allege Murdaugh stole settlement money for "his own personal use, for expenses including but not limited to overdraft fees, cash, and checks written to associates."
"Altogether, Murdaugh is charged with respect to alleged schemes to defraud victims and thereafter launder $4,853,488.09," said the Attorney General's office in a release Friday.
According to the indictments, state attorneys alleged Murdaugh defrauded and laundered $792,000 in Bamberg County, $125,000 in Orangeburg County, $70,000 in Colleton County, $383,056.14 in Allendale County and $3,483,431.95 in Beaufort County. The multi-million-dollar sum in Beaufort County is related to the previously reported wrongful death settlement with the family of the Murdaugh family's housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield.
In a statement sent to CNN, the attorneys for the Satterfield family addressed the new indictments, saying, in part, "The Satterfield family is grateful to law enforcement for their continued efforts in the investigation of the facts and circumstances surrounding the death of Gloria Satterfield and the egregious breaches of trust and theft committed upon her sons. The additional indictments brought today in connection with the crimes committed against Gloria and her sons as well as apparently others are welcome, long overdue and were appropriately brought."
Attorneys Eric Bland and Ronnie Ritcher continued in the statement, "Of course, Mr. Murdaugh is entitled to his presumption of innocence and to his rights under the criminal process. For now, however, it seems the statewide grand jury was as unimpressed with his opioid defense and other explanations given as we have been. As always, we are steadfastly in the Satterfield corner and committed to seeing these matters to the end. Ultimately, we will entrust a judge or jury to let us know when the Satterfields have received their full cup of justice -- not Alex Murdaugh or his attorneys."
CNN has reached out to Murdaugh's attorneys, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, for comment but has not received a response.
He is also facing several lawsuits in civil court, including one from his former firm.
Murdaugh, a once prominent South Carolina attorney, was shot in the head on a roadway September 4, but survived. He later admitted to authorities he conspired with former client Curtis Smith to kill him as part of a fraud scheme so his only surviving son could collect a $10 million life insurance payout.
Murdaugh has since been charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, and filing a false police report.
The shooting followed the June deaths of Murdaugh's wife, Margaret, and son, Paul, who were fatally shot outside their home in Islandton, South Carolina. The case remains unsolved. Murdaugh has denied responsibility in the killings.
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