Alex Murdaugh, the former South Carolina lawyer accused of orchestrating his own murder in a twisted insurance plot, is said to have funneled money from his clients and his former law firm into a fake bank account for years, according to a new trial.
Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick (PMPED), the law firm founded a century ago by Murdaugh’s great-grandfather, made the shocking allegation in a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Colleton County Court. He alleges that Murdaugh, who was ousted from the company last month because of allegations of theft, “may have secretly stolen these funds by disguising settlement outlays as payments” from a fraudulent Bank of America account.
“For several years, Murdaugh submitted false documents to the company and to clients that allowed him to transfer stolen funds to fraudulent bank accounts,” PMPED said in a statement on Wednesday. “Further, the lawsuit indicates that Murdaugh has on occasion used company assets in an unauthorized manner and without the consent or knowledge of his former partner to further his fraud scheme.”
The law firm is also seeking information “on where the ill-gotten funds went and if any of them are hidden” and hopes to recover the stolen funds.
The allegations suggest Murdaugh had been embroiled in wrongdoing long before his family’s legal dynasty was propelled into the public limelight by a series of cascading dramas, ranging from drug addiction allegations to homicide and fraud. to insurance. The lawsuit comes a day after Murdaugh was accused in another lawsuit of embezzling millions of dollars from a wrongful death settlement intended for his former housekeeper’s sons into a fake bank account.
“This is a very sad development. Alex holds every member of the law firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, Detrick in the highest regard,” Jim Griffin, one of Alex Murdaugh’s attorneys, told The Daily Beast in response to the PMPED lawsuit. “He pledged his full cooperation to the company.
The family first made national headlines in June when Murdaugh’s wife and son were found fatally shot on their estate. At the time, the son, Paul, was facing criminal charges for his role in a fatal boating crash in 2019.
Months later, Murdaugh made headlines again after calling the police to tell them he had been shot in the head by a mysterious truck driver on a side road in Lowcounty. In reality, prosecutors are now alleging that Murdaugh and his former drug dealer attempted to stage his murder to arrange an insurance payment to his surviving son, Buster.
Just hours after the shooting, Murdaugh posted a surprise announcement stating that he had left his family’s business and was entering drug addiction rehab.
Murdaugh and the alleged drug dealer face criminal charges in this bizarre episode, but Murdaugh was allowed out of jail and into rehab in another state after allegedly admitting what he had done to the police.
The PMPED then released its own statement last month claiming that Murdaugh had in fact been deported after discovering he had “embezzled”. The South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the company’s allegations.
According to the PMPED lawsuit, obtained by The Daily Beast, the firm learned in early September that Murdaugh “had a bank account with Bank of America in the name of ‘Alexander Murdaugh d / b / a Forge’, a fictitious entity that does not provide no service and does not manufacture any product for sale.
“It was further learned that Alex Murdaugh used this account to convert monies owed to PMPED and its clients for his personal use,” the lawsuit said.
“Alex Murdaugh knew his actions would escape detection based on his experience with PMPED and his long-standing business relationship with Forge Consulting, LLC (” FCL “) in Columbia, South Carolina,” the lawsuit added. .
This is not the first time that Murdaugh’s alleged connection to Forge Consulting LLC, a Georgia-based finance company, has come into question, although FCL has previously denied any involvement with the Scion.
Court documents filed Tuesday allege that after the former Murdaugh’s housekeeper Gloria Satterfield died on their property in 2018, her sons were expected to receive more than $ 4.3 million in a death lawsuit wrongful claim from Murdaugh’s insurance company. Instead, checks for the 2019 court-approved settlement were made payable to “Forge” and were reportedly mailed to a post office box in Hampton County, South Carolina. The sons of Satterfield have yet to see a dime of the settlement.
Murdaugh allegedly chose the name because PMPED had a “long-standing business relationship” with Forge Consulting, including brokerage deals and financial advice to its attorneys, according to the law firm’s lawsuit.
The lawsuit adds that while the company only became aware of Murdaugh’s alleged scheme on September 2, PMPED inquired about the status of at least one royalty owed to the company in a case on which Murdaugh was working.
“The questions regarding the check for the charges owed to PMPED did not provide a satisfactory explanation,” the lawsuit says, adding that on September 2 a check was found on Murdaugh’s desk which appeared to be for some of the charges. .
The check was notably made payable to Murdaugh and not the cabinet, prompting the PMPED to initiate “a review of prior settlements” of its files.
The review resulted in numerous checks payable to “Forge” – and when the company asked Forge Consulting LLC, they “confirmed that they had not provided any service to clients identified by PMPED,” indicates the trial.
The lawsuit says that on September 3, PMPED confronted Murdaugh about the missing funds and he admitted to the scheme and resigned.
Days later, after the botched assisted suicide plot, PMPED informed the South Carolina Supreme Court’s Disciplinary Board Office “of the alleged ethical violation” and his law license was ultimately suspended in the awaiting an investigation.
“PMPED has repaid all trust accounts of clients who suffered a known loss as a result of the action of Alex Murdaugh while he was an employee of PMPED and working on behalf of PMPED clients,” the lawsuit says. . “It is expected that additional information will become known, which could result in more losses for PMPED, as it protects the interests of its clients. “