Alex Murdaugh robbed his brother; family business

A disbarred South Carolina attorney accused of killing his wife and son has been charged with another round of financial crimes.

This time, prosecutors said Alex Murdaugh stole $295,000 from his brother and the law firm founded by his prominent legal family a century ago.

Murdaugh, 54, faces nine additional counts – four counts of obtaining property under false pretences, three counts of money laundering and two counts of computer crimes – in indictments delivered by the State Grand Jury on Tuesday and made public on Friday.

Murdaugh is in jail and is expected to stand trial in January on murder charges for the June 2021 shooting deaths of his wife Maggie, 52, and their 22-year-old son, Paul. They were killed with different firearms outside one of the family’s homes in Colleton County, investigators said.

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In all, Murdaugh faces approximately 90 charges. Most of them are financial crimes, with prosecutors saying he stole at least $8.5million from settlements he secured for a dozen poorer clients in personal injury or death cases unjustified.

But authorities said he also laundered money through a drug ring and by writing 437 checks worth $2.4million to associates and others to avoid bank reporting requirements. Murdaugh tried to convince a man to kill him so his surviving son could collect a $10 million life insurance policy, investigators said.

If convicted of the murder charges, Murdaugh faces 30 years to life in prison without parole. The crime also carries the death penalty, but prosecutors did not say whether they would seek it. The dozens of other charges combined carry up to hundreds of years behind bars.

In the latest round of indictments, prosecutors say Murdaugh took money from the law firm PMPED founded by his family more than 100 years ago and turned it into a legal giant , winning millions in verdicts in tiny Hampton County.

Some lawyers loaned money to the firm at the beginning of the year to pay expenses, then were reimbursed once regular income came in. Murdaugh did not participate, but the firm accidentally wrote him a loan repayment check for $121,000 that was supposed to go to his brother, according to an indictment.

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Murdaugh pointed out the mistake, said the check was supposed to go to him, and had another one issued so it wouldn’t show up in the company’s accounting review, prosecutors said.

Murdaugh also took about $175,000 in settlements that were supposed to go to the law firm, according to a second indictment.

The money laundering and computer crime charges came because Murdaugh hid money from banking regulations through small online transfers and written checks to himself and others, investigators said. .

Through his lawyers, Murdaugh flatly denied killing his wife and son. His lawyers said he also plans to repair any possible financial harm.

Along with the family’s huge civilian law firm, Murdaugh’s father, grandfather, and great-grandfather served as elected prosecutors for Hampton County and four surrounding counties for more than eight decades.

(WATCH BELOW: Former SC lawyer Alex Murdaugh pleads not guilty to the murder of his wife and son)

Denise W. Whigham