COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A after-well known South Carolina lawyer now faces 71 charges that he stole almost $8.5 million in wrongful dying and wreck settlements from more than a dozen persons right after another spherical of indictments against Alex Murdaugh ended up handed up Friday.
The 23 new charges issued by the state grand jury lined new victims but identical techniques, prosecutors mentioned.
Murdaugh, 53, would negotiate settlement income for his clients without having telling them what they acquired, then deposit the checks meant to pay back for their soreness and suffering or the anguish of the loss of life of a loved one into his very own own accounts — paying off financial loans or debts or in strategies prosecutors have not in depth.
The new indictments increase Murdaugh’s crimes again a lot more than a decade to 2011 and incorporate a new secret. Various of them mentioned Murdaugh utilised revenue orders given to an unnamed household member to get his fingers on the funds, prosecutors claimed.
Murdaugh has been in jail given that October for the at any time-expanding record of breach of trust, forgery, cash laundering and computer system criminal offense expenses. A judge set his bail at $7 million and refused to lessen it, even as Murdaugh’s attorney argued his bank accounts had been seized in civil lawsuits and he could hardly afford to pay for to buy underwear at the Richland County jail. He has blamed his complications on decades of drug dependancy.
Murdaugh’s professional profession started to unravel after his 52-calendar year-aged spouse, Maggie, and 22-year-outdated son, Paul, have been killed in a capturing at the family’s household in June. Murdaugh’s lawyers have adamantly explained he experienced nothing to do with it and consistently said they hope investigators are doing the job as challenging to find their killers as they are untangling Alex Murdaugh’s finances.
Murdaugh is the fourth generation of a outstanding legal loved ones in tiny Hampton County. His excellent-grandfather, grandfather and father had been all elected prosecutors and his family aided operate the greatest regulation organization in the county for a century.
Friday’s indictments incorporate fees for Murdaugh’s handling of the aftermath of a wreck that caused a deaf gentleman to close up quadriplegic.
Murdaugh took a $309,000 check out he was supposed to give to Hakeem Pinckney’s family members and instead purchased income orders that went to cover money he took from the accounts of other purchasers, to pay down a personal loan and get funds for himself and an unnamed family member, according to the indictment.
Then when Pinckney died in a nursing home from the lingering outcomes of his accidents, Murdaugh bought an more $89,000 settlement on Pinckney’s behalf, but deposited that verify in his account devoid of ever telling the man’s spouse and children, prosecutors stated.
The law firm for the Pinckney household claimed the transactions are complicated and tricky to follow and even much more revenue may perhaps have been stolen. Prosecutors have instructed at Murdaugh’s bond listening to that they continue to have not gotten to the base of his shady practices.
Pinckney was Black, and most of the persons Murdaugh stole from were like him — minorities and not properly off, relatives lawyer Justin Bamberg mentioned.
“Alex gave them just ample cash so they would fall on their knees and say ‘thank you, Jesus’ and took the relaxation,” Bamberg explained.
Bamberg stated Murdaugh’s longtime legislation business, which fired him right after studying he was thieving dollars, his banker mates and other pros who Murdaugh employed as personalized associates for damage victims and grieving families or who performed other roles in supporting his schemes go on so lengthy should encounter implications, much too, since even if they aren’t criminally responsible, they should really have questioned queries.
“We are coming for your pockets. We’re going to get all the dollars these people today were intended to get,” Bamberg said.
Another indictment Friday facts how, starting up in 2013, Murdaugh collected 14 settlement checks totaling a lot more than $1.3 million for a man whose wife died in a wreck and stole all the money for himself.
Other victims have bundled a point out trooper, loved ones good friends and an immigrant residing in the place illegally, in accordance to preceding indictments.
At his bond hearings, Murdaugh’s lawyers blamed years of addiction to opioids for his behavior, saying he has sought counseling and would like to make points ideal for the clients he hurt.
Murdaugh’s regulation license has been suspended given that his arrest in September following condition brokers explained he tried to set up his have loss of life so his surviving son could acquire on a $10 million lifetime insurance policy plan.