Alex Murdaugh set to plead guilty to federal charges for stealing money from his clients – months after he was convicted of killing his wife Maggie and son Paul
Disgraced South Carolina legal scion turned convicted killer Alex Murdaugh is set to plead guilty to nearly two dozen federal charges for stealing millions of dollars from his clients, months after the double murder of his wife and son.
Murdaugh accepted guilty pleas to 22 federal charges, including bank fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. The plea agreement was signed and filed in South Carolina US District Court on Monday.
Days earlier, on Thursday, dressed in a prison orange jumpsuit and handcuffs and looking weathered, the embattled lawyer appeared in court for the first time since he was sentenced in March to life without parole for the June 2021 execution-style murders of his wife Margaret, 52 and younger son, Paul 22.
During his testimony in his six-week murder trial, Murdaugh, 55, admitted to stealing millions from his law firm for his personal gain, including using the proceeds to pay off loans and for personal expenses as well as cash withdrawals.
His admission marks the first time that he has ever pleaded guilty to committing a crime, The Independent reported.
A federal judge still has to sign off on the deal.
Alex Murdaugh is pictured last week for this first time since he was sentenced to life in prison for the murders of his wife Margaret, 52 and son, Paul, 22
Murdaugh is seen in the courtroom surrounded by his legal team during his double murder trial at the Colleton County Courthouse in Waterboro, South Carolina, on March 1
The Murdaugh Family Saga: Disgraced legal scion turned convicted killer Murdaugh (pictured right) together in this undated photo before he fatally shot his wife Margaret, 52 and son, Paul, 22, (second to right). The eldest son, Buster’s life was spared (left)
There were two co-conspirators, Cory Fleming, a former lawyer and college roommate, and Russell Laffitte, an ex-banking CEO, involved in his purported financial schemes.
According to prosecutors, Murdaugh’s alleged accomplices aided him in schemes to defraud clients out of money from at least 2005 to 2021, NBC News reported.
One of the alleged schemes he was accused of involved a bank employee who assisted him in defrauding his personal injury clients and laundering more than $7 million of funds, according to the charges.
If Murdaugh complies with the conditions of the plea agreement, federal prosecutors agreed to recommend in court that his sentence on the federal charges would be served concurrently to any state conviction he receives for the same alleged crimes, CNN reported.
The charges carry a maximum punishment of 20 years in federal prison, with some carrying a maximum of 30 years.
The once-prominent attorney is also facing a slew of other state and federal cases.
He is scheduled in November to stand trial on charges stemming from stealing settlement money from the family of late housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield. The first of dozens of victims that were defrauded.
Some of the multi-million dollar financial crimes he is accused of that went on for more than a decade, include embezzlement, computer crime, money laundering and tax evasion.
Murdaugh looking grim as a guilty verdict on the murder charges was reached March 2 after a six-week trial at the Colleton County courthouse
In September, Murdaugh’s defense team filed a court motion demanding jury tampering and requested a new trial after they alleged that a clerk of court tampered with the jury, CNN reported.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is now investigating those claims at the request of the South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson.
Last week, Wilson asked the court to order Murdaugh’s defense team to correct their motion due to several ‘procedural defects.’
Though prosecutors did not dispute the motion, they said the investigation being conducted has already ‘revealed significant factual disputes’ that undermine the credibility of Murdaugh’s claims.
In August, Buster Murdaugh, 26, broke his silence six months after his father was jailed for the murders of his mother and brother during an interview on Fox Nation’s The Fall of the House of Murdaugh. The show aired August 31.
Buster’s father, Alex, who is now serving two life sentences for the murders of his famly members said it is ‘not fair,’ and said he does not think it is possible that his father killed his brother and mother at their hunting estate in 2021.
He took aim at the police and judge, claiming they had a ‘crappy motive’ and he does not ‘believe it was fair’ that all 12 jurors found him guilty. He claimed the jury ultimately found his father guilty of the shootings because of ‘everything they had the ability to read prior to the trial.’
‘I think that I hold a very unique perspective that nobody else in that courtroom ever held. And I know the love that I have witnessed,’ he said.
Buster spoke about his father’s murder trial. ‘I was there for six weeks studying it, and I think it was a tilted table from the beginning.’
‘And I think, unfortunately, a lot of the jurors felt that way prior to when they had to deliberate.
‘It was predetermined in their minds prior to when they ever heard any shred of evidence that was given in that room.’
During the show, he also spoke about Stephen Smith, 19, and denied having a gay relationship with his murdered schoolfriend or any involvement in his death despite locals claiming the pair had a relationship.
Smith was found dead on July 8, 2015, on a rural road not far from the Murdaugh hunting lodge that would become a bloody murder scene six years later.
Following his death, cops were tipped off about an alleged gay relationship between the pair which was being gossiped about at the local high school, Netflix and HBO claim in a special documentary.
Smith was found dead in the middle of the road and authorities initially ruled his death as a hit and run despite a lack of evidence pointing towards that.
Earlier this month, his mother Sandy launched a GoFundMe to exhume his body to get a ‘new, unbiased look at his body and an accurate determination of his cause of death based on facts’
Buster denied that they were ever ‘physical’ and he had ‘nothing to do with his murder.’