US Attorney Alex Murdaugh Charged With Stealing Insurance Money From Dead Housekeeper's Children
Alex Murdaugh, a prominent South Carolina attorney, is currently the subject of six South Carolina state investigations, including one probe into the deaths of his wife and son. Prior to the Thursday arrest, Murdaugh, 53, was checked into a drug rehab and treatment facility in Orlando, Florida.
Murdaugh was arrested at an Orlando-area rehab facility on Thursday and formally charged with stealing life insurance settlements intended for the sons of his late housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield.
Agents with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement took Murdaugh into custody on two felony counts of Obtaining Property by False Pretenses, according to an October 14 news release from the SLED.
"Today is merely one more step in a long process for justice for the many victims in these investigations. I want to commend the hard work and dedication that our agents have shown over the last four months," said SLED chief Mark Keel in a quoted statement.
"They will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of those who were victimized by Alex Murdaugh and others," Keel added." As I have said previously, we are committed to following the facts wherever they may lead us and we will not stop until justice is served"
Murdaugh will remain at Orange County Corrections in Florida until an extradition hearing takes place.
The new charges come as part of the division's probe into the misappropriation of funds following the 2018 death of Satterfield, who was for decades employed as Murdaugh's housekeeper.
According to the Murdaugh family, Satterfield tripped over their family dog and died weeks later from related complications.
However, the Hampton County coroner was never contacted to review the so-called accidental death.
Satterfield's sons say that Murdaugh approached them at their mother's funeral and promised to take care of them via insurance settlements associated with the late housekeeper's death.
"Avarice and betrayal of trust are at the heart of this matter," said lawyers Eric Bland and Ronald Richter, according to the Associated Press.
The lawsuit filed by the sons of the deceased housekeeper alleges the lawyer collected over $4 million in settlements from insurers, but only told the late housekeeper's sons about a $500,000 settlement, which was never delivered.
Murdaugh placed the siphoned funds in a fraudulent account with a name similar to that of a legal consulting firm that handles such settlements, according to the suit.
The once-prominent lawyer was, last month, charged
with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report. The charges came shortly after a botched suicide attempt, and months after the deaths of his wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, and their son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh.
The 53-year-old suspect's lawyers said in a statement last month that Murdaugh "intends to fully cooperate with this investigation, as he has with the investigation into the murder of his wife and son. He deeply regrets that his actions have distracted from the efforts to solve their murders."