Murdaugh paid dad, wife with stolen money, grand jury says

Published: May. 24, 2023 at 10:55 AM EDT|Updated: May. 24, 2023 at 11:18 AM EDT
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HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Already facing more than 100 charges for financial crimes, Alex Murdaugh was indicted on 22 more counts by a federal grand jury on Tuesday.

The 28-page indictment details how Murdaugh reportedly used millions of dollars in funds he stole from clients, including some who were minors. The new charges are for conspiracy, bank fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering.

According to the indictment, Murdaugh used stolen settlement money meant for personal injury clients, with the help of Palmetto State Bank’s Russell Laffitte, for more than a decade to pay for a number of personal expenses.

In one case, Laffitte was a conservator on an account for a minor and is accused of distributing 16 loans worth $963,500 to Murdaugh. Murdaugh reportedly used tens of thousands of dollars to repay his overdrawn personal checking account.

The indictment says Murdaugh used funds stolen from other personal injury clients to repay the money. When the victim turned 18, Murdaugh still owed money to the account so Laffitte issued him a $500,000 line of credit which largely went to repay it as well, according to the indictment.

In another case, a $1,325,000 settlement was issued for the estate of a client. Murdaugh reportedly asked Laffitte to re-cut the settlement in amounts he requested and used the money for personal expenses including:

  • $75,000 money order to Murdaugh’s father, Randolph Murdaugh III
  • $7,500 money order to wife Maggie Murdaugh
  • $388,687.50 money order to repay a private loan
  • $250,988.15 to Murdaugh’s personal checking account

The indictment states that funds were given to Murdaugh in another case where Laffitte was the victim’s conservator and Murdaugh allegedly put $10,000 in an account for Maggie. He also issued a $329,500 money order to his father, the documents state. Approximately $4,000 went to repaying Murdaugh’s boat loans, according to the indictment.

Deposits made by Murdaugh into his Bank of America account were strategically divided to conceal his crimes, the indictment says.

“South Carolinians turn to lawyers when they are at their most vulnerable, and in our state, those who abuse the public’s trust and enrich themselves by fraud, theft, and self-dealing will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs. “We are grateful to the FBI for their tireless work on this case and to the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division for their work to hold Alex Murdaugh, and those who enabled him, accountable in our state system.”

For more coverage, visit the Tangled Web section.