Former South Carolina personal injury attorney Alex Murdaugh, convicted in March of murdering his wife and son, is charged with 22 federal counts of defrauding clients, money laundering, and diverting insurance proceeds to his personal account.
Murdaugh set up a fake bank account in the name of a corporation that he presented as a structured insurance settlement program. He fired personal injury settlements through the account but used the money for personal gain, the indictment and the US Attorney’s office said Wednesday.
Also, he conspired with another lawyer to defraud his housekeeper’s family from life insurance after her suspicious death in a fall at Murdaugh’s house in 2018. against Murdaugh to collect from his landlord’s insurance policies at home.
Murdaugh’s insurance companies settled the land claim for $505,000 and $3,800,000. The indictment alleges that Murdaugh and Fleming conspired to siphon the funds, disguised as “prosecution costs,” for their own personal enrichment.
Fleming, a longtime friend and roommate of Murdaugh’s in college, pleaded guilty this week to fraud charges related to the scheme, according to prosecutors and court records. Fleming now faces a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, the US Attorney said.
In another part of the plot, the grand jury found that from 2011 to 2021, Murdaugh conspired with his banker, Russell Laffitte, to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. Murdaugh and his law firm asked Laffitte to serve as conservator for several clients, and Laffitte collected more than $350,000 in fees.
As part of the scheme, the law firm made settlement checks payable to “Palmetto State Bank.” The checks were then delivered to Laffitte, who paid off Murdaugh’s personal loans and used the money for Murdaugh’s personal expenses and cash withdrawals.
Laffitte was convicted in November of wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, for his role in the scheme. He is currently awaiting sentencing.
Photo: Murdaugh, center, and his attorneys at the sentencing in March. (AP)
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