Alex Murdaugh Now Faces Nearly 50 Charges for Stealing $6.2M from Clients, Court Says

Alex Murdaugh now faces nearly 50 charges as state prosecutors allege the prominent South Carolina attorney has stolen more than $6.2 million from his clients. Murdaugh has been swept up in a wide range of legal issues within and beyond his attorney work, ranging from running a fraudulent bank account to an alleged attempt to have himself shot and killed so that his son could collect insurance money.

Murdaugh, 53, was indicted Thursday on 21 new charges that accuse him of running seven schemes between 2016 and 2020 to cheat his clients out of portions of their settlement money. He would do so by telling clients that their settlements were smaller than expected or that they had to pay additional fees for services like accident reconstruction, according to court documents.

Prosecutors said that he would then send the extra portions of settlement money to a fake account. He stole about $1.4 million during these schemes, according to the new indictments.

His charges include nearly 50 counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent, computer crimes, money laundering and forgery. Murdaugh could face hundreds of years in prison if convicted of all charges, all of which are felonies.

But his troubles also extend beyond the courtroom. Murdaugh's wife Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22, were found shot to death at their South Carolina home in June. No charges have been filed in connection with the still unsolved murders, and Murdaugh's lawyers have denied that he was involved in their killings.

At the time of the killings, Paul Murdaugh was set to go on trial for a charge of boating under the influence causing death after allegedly causing a crash in February 2019 killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach

Murdaugh Charges
Alex Murdaugh now faces nearly 50 charges as state prosecutors allege the South Carolina attorney has stolen more than $6.2 million from clients. Above, Murdaugh awaits the beginning of his bond hearing in the Richland Judicial Center in Columbia, South Carolina, October 19. Lewis M. Levine/AP Photo

Murdaugh's lawyers didn't immediately comment on the latest financial charges.

Murdaugh's father, grandfather and great-grandfather were prosecutors in tiny Hampton County, where every road leading to the county seat is two lanes. The family also founded what has become a giant private law firm with dozens of attorneys known for suing railroads and getting injury claims for workers.

Murdaugh's lawyers didn't immediately comment on the latest financial charges.

In one indictment Thursday, prosecutors said Murdaugh told the representative of a dead woman's estate he only recovered $30,000, but since the award was so small, he would waive his lawyer fee. Instead, Murdaugh recovered more than $180,000 and wrote a check to his bank account for the more than $150,000 difference, the indictment said.

In another case, Murdaugh told a family friend $85,000 of a settlement had to be set aside for a "medical insurance lien" and then sent that money to himself, according to the indictment.

Murdaugh has been held without bond for more than seven weeks—a judge said it was for the defendant's own safety after his arrest on charges he stole $3.4 million in insurance money meant for the sons of his housekeeper Gloria Satterfield. She died after a fall at one of the family's homes in 2018. Murdaugh's lawyers are appealing the no bond decision to the state Supreme Court.

Murdaugh will be in court again Friday for a virtual bond hearing on 27 indictments from nearly three weeks ago. Prosecutors said the charges include taking $125,000 from a settlement for a state trooper injured on duty.

Murdaugh also is charged in what investigators said was an attempt to have himself shot and killed so his surviving son could collect a $10 million life insurance policy.

All the charges involve a fraudulent bank account Murdaugh created with a name similar to a company that handles legal settlements, according to investigators.

Murdaugh used the money to pay bank overdraft fees, credit card payments, checks written to friends and family and other items, according to the indictments.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Murdaugh Hearing
Alex Murdaugh's charges include nearly 50 counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent, computer crimes, money laundering and forgery. Above, Murdaugh walks into his bond hearing September 16 in Varnville, South Carolina. Mic Smith/AP Photo