Judge gives ex-banker Laffitte more time before prison sentence begins
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A federal judge granted a motion that would postpone the start of a prison sentence for a former Lowcountry bank CEO.
U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel sentenced former Palmetto State Bank CEO Russell Laffitte, 53, to seven years in federal prison back on Aug. 2.
Laffitte filed a motion to appeal on Aug. 8 followed by a motion for release pending that appeal on Aug. 14.
One week later, Laffitte and prosecutors filed a motion agreeing to allow Laffitte to postpone the start of his prison term until this Thursday.
The court agreed to that postponement saying it would give the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals an “adequate opportunity” to address the motion for release pending appeal, according to court documents.
The appeals court has not yet ruled.
But Gergel granted Laffitte’s request for one more delay Wednesday, granting him until Sept. 28 to report to prison to begin serving his sentence.
In his order, Gergel ended by stating, “No further extensions will be granted.”
A jury found Laffitte guilty of six financial crimes in November. Laffitte was found guilty of one count of conspiracy to commit bank or wire fraud, one count of bank fraud, one count of wire fraud and three counts of misapplication of bank funds. The crimes are alleged to have involved helping convicted murderer and disbarred Lowcountry attorney Alex Murdaugh steal nearly $2 million from clients’ legal settlements.
At the sentencing hearing, federal prosecutors reiterated their ask for 108-137 months, or nine to 11.5 years in prison and a restitution payment to victims in the amount of about $3.55 million.
The judge sentenced him to 84 months and ordered him to pay $3.55 million in restitution.
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