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Alex Murdaugh sobs about murders at fraud sentencing: Live

Sentencing marks only the latest chapter in the Murdaugh saga, as he continues to fight his conviction over the June 2021 murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul

Rachel Sharp,Andrea Cavallier
Wednesday 29 November 2023 21:24 GMT
Alex Murdaugh takes plea deal over financial crimes

Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh was confronted by his victims in a courtroom in South Carolina today before being sentenced to 27 years in prison on a slew of state financial crime charges.

“You seem empty, I don’t see anything,” Judge Clifton Newman told Murdaugh as he handed down the sentence. “Hopefully something will emerge in your spirit, in your soul.”

For more than a decade, Murdaugh stole over $12.5m from clients at his law firm in a vast multi-million-dollar fraud scheme.

Among the victims who spoke was the family of Gloria Satterfield, the Murdaugh’s housekeeper who died in a 2018 “trip and fall” at Moselle. In that case, Murdaugh stole more than $4m in wrongful death settlements meant for her sons.

Murdaugh spent nearly an hour apologizing to them. He admitted he did “terrible things” that “continue to bother and disturb him.”

The disgraced legal scion reached a plea deal with prosecutors on 17 November, agreeing to plead guilty to 22 charges including money laundering, fraud and criminal conspiracy.

The sentencing marks only the latest chapter in the Murdaugh saga, as he continues to fight his conviction over the June 2021 murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul.

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Welcome to The Independent’s liveblog

Follow along live for Alex Murdaugh’s sentencing on state financial crimes charges

Rachel Sharp28 November 2023 10:38
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Alex Murdaugh to be sentenced today on state financial crimes charges

Today, Alex Murdaugh will be back in court in Beaufort County to be sentenced on the slew of state financial fraud charges.

The convicted killer accepted a plea deal in the case earlier this month – admitting to the sprawling fraud scheme in court.

The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office had offered Murdaugh a deal to plead guilty to 22 of the 101 charges in the case in exchange for a reduced sentence.

The 22 charges include: seven counts of money laundering, four counts of obtaining a signature by false pretences, six counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent, and one count each of breach of trust with fraudulent intent, forgery, computer crimes, criminal conspiracy and willful attempt to evade or defeat a tax. The other charges will be dismissed.

Based on the remaining charges, Murdaugh could face up to 239 years in prison.

However, prosecutors are asking Judge Clifton Newman to sentence him to 27 years – a sentence which would be served concurrently to his existing two life sentences for double murder.

Alex Murdaugh in court as he took a plea deal (AP)
Rachel Sharp28 November 2023 11:00
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Alex Murdaugh is still fighting his murder conviction. But he’s admitted to these crimes

For more than two decades, Gloria Satterfield cared for the Murdaugh family as if they were her own.

As the family’s housekeeper, she kept the sprawling Moselle property that they called home in order.

And she acted as a “second mom” to their sons Buster and Paul, according to Paul’s former girlfriend.

So, when the mother-of-two died in a tragic fall down the steps of the family home in 2018, it seemed only natural that Alex Murdaugh would wish to take care of her two sons financially.

And, for some time, that’s what they believed he was going to do – until it emerged he had stolen every single dime of a $4m settlement from them through a wrongful death lawsuit.

It was the ultimate betrayal to two vulnerable individuals who had put their trust in the 54-year-old as an attorney, a family friend and a confidante.

But it was by far his only betrayal.

In the space of just over two years, Murdaugh has been exposed as a family annihilator, a fraudster, a thief and a liar.

This March, he was convicted of brutally murdering his wife Maggie and son Paul at the same Moselle estate where Satterfield died three years earlier.

And, this Tuesday, he will finally be jailed for stealing millions of dollars from the Satterfields and several other victims as part of a vast, decade-long, multi-million-dollar fraud scheme.

The Independent’s Rachel Sharp reports:

Alex Murdaugh is still fighting his murder verdict. But he’s admitted to these crimes

Alex Murdaugh has been exposed as a family annihilator, a fraudster, a thief and a liar. On Tuesday, he will finally be sentenced over the multi-million-dollar fraud scheme which helped drive him to murder. Rachel Sharp reports

Rachel Sharp28 November 2023 11:20
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Victims of killer’s financial crimes to confront him in court

Before the judge hands down his sentence, several of Alex Murdaugh’s victims are slated to confront him in court in impact statements, including one of Gloria Satterfield’s adult sons and her sister.

Satterfield was the Murdaugh’s longtime housekeeper who died in a 2018 “trip and fall” at the sprawling Moselle estate.

In that case, Murdaugh stole more than $4m in wrongful death settlements meant for her sons.

The family’s attorney Eric Bland told NBC News he is also planning to speak and has been preparing for this moment.

“I’m going to say that ‘I heard you say that you wrongfully took... no, you didn’t wrongfully take, you stole,’” he said.

“‘I heard you say you misrepresented. No, you didn’t misrepresent, you lied. Yeah, let’s not sugarcoat what you did. You’re a thief and a liar.’”

He added: “It’s not over yet, but to be able to face this monster — and he’s going to have to listen. He can smile and he can smirk, but he can hear, and the words are going to go in his ears and he’s going to listen.”

Gloria Satterfield died in a ‘trip and fall’ at the Murdaugh home in 2018 (Provided)
Rachel Sharp28 November 2023 11:40
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WATCH: Moment Alex Murdaugh took plea deal on state financial fraud charges

Alex Murdaugh takes plea deal over financial crimes
Rachel Sharp28 November 2023 12:00
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What charges has Murdaugh pleaded guilty to?

On 17 November, Alex Murdaugh accepted a plea deal in the state financial fraud case – admitting to the sprawling fraud scheme in court.

The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office had charged Murdaugh with 101 counts over the more than decade-long scheme.

Under the terms of the deal, Murdaugh pleaded guilty to 22 of the charges in exchange for a reduced sentence. The other charges will be dismissed.

The 22 charges are:

- seven counts of money laundering

- four counts of obtaining a signature by false pretences

- six counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent

- one count of breach of trust with fraudulent intent

- one count of forgery

- one count of computer crimes

- one count of criminal conspiracy

- one count of willful attempt to evade or defeat a tax

Rachel Sharp28 November 2023 12:26
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The Murdaugh murders: Inside the spectacular fall from grace of Alex Murdaugh

On the surface, Alex Murdaugh had it all.

He was a high-powered attorney who ran both his own law firm and worked in the local prosecutor’s office.

He was the son of a powerful legal dynasty that dominated the local South Carolina community for almost a century.

And he was a family man who lived with his wife and two adult sons on their sprawling country estate.

But, over the last few years, Murdaugh has experienced a spectacular fall from grace, culminating in what was described as the “trial of the century” in a courtroom in Walterboro, South Carolina.

In March 2023, the 54-year-old was convicted of killing his wife Maggie, 52, and their son Paul, 22, in a savage double murder that sent shockwaves across the lowcountry back in the summer of 2021.

But this is far from the only twist in a bizarre and sprawling tale of unexplained deaths, hitman plots and multi-million-dollar fraud schemes.

The Independent’s Rachel Sharp writes:

Why did Alex Murdaugh murder his wife and son? The astonishing case explained

Powerful South Carolina legal scion Alex Murdaugh became the centre of the ‘trial of the century’ over the brutal double murder of his wife and son. But this is far from the only twist in a bizarre and sprawling tale of unexplained deaths, hitman plots and multi-million-dollar fraud schemes, writes Rachel Sharp

Rachel Sharp28 November 2023 12:40
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How Murdaugh’s financial crimes helped drive him to murder

Murdaugh’s financial crimes came crashing down around him when he murdered Maggie and Paul on 7 June 2021.

According to prosecutors at Alex Murdaugh’s murder trial, his greed, theft, and lies played a key role in the motive for the violent murders of his loved ones.

At his trial, jurors heard that his colleagues at PMPED were closing in on his multi-million-dollar fraud scheme with a colleague confronting him about $792,000 in missing money on the morning of the murders.

His finances were also coming under intense scrutiny in a lawsuit brought by the family of Mallory Beach – a 19-year-old woman who died in a 2019 crash in the Murdaugh family boat.

A hearing for the boat crash lawsuit was scheduled for 10 June – three days after the murders.

After Maggie and Paul were gunned down on the family home, questions about his finances fell by the wayside. But, not for long.

Buster, Maggie, Paul and Alex Murdaugh left to right (Maggie Murdaugh/Facebook)

Two months later – in September 2021 – Murdaugh resigned in shame from his law firm after they confronted him about the years of theft. He was then hit with a slew of financial fraud charges on both a state and federal level.

Jurors at his murder trial heard from victims, friends and colleagues who were all deceived by Murdaugh, as prosecutors painted a picture of a man who stole from and lied to those closest to him – and a desperate man who would do anything to hide his deceit from the world.

Then, in a dramatic moment, the killer made a shock confession that all the financial crime allegations were indeed true.

Murdaugh admitted that he had stolen from multiple victims, claiming that he did it to fund his 20-year opioid addiction – something that prosecutors cast doubts on.

Since then, Murdaugh has admitted to his financial crimes twice more in court – pleading guilty in both his federal and state criminal cases. Yet, while he has admitted to these crimes, Murdaugh continues to claim he is innocent of the murders of his wife and son.

Rachel Sharp28 November 2023 13:00
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Who are Alex Murdaugh’s financial crime victims?

For more than a decade, Murdaugh stole over $8.5m from several clients at his law firm in a scheme going back more than a decade.

Among the victims is the family of Gloria Satterfield.

Satterfield worked as the Murdaugh family housekeeper for more than two decades before she died in a tragic “trip and fall” down the steps of the family home in 2018

Murdaugh recommended that her sons hire his friend and accomplice Cory Fleming to represent them in bringing a wrongful death claim against him – as the homeowner of the property where she died – so that they could collect from his homeowner’s insurance policies.

The insurance companies ultimately settled the estate’s claim for more than $4m – two payments of $505,000 and $3.8m.

Murdaugh and Fleming then stole the settlement money for themselves and the housekeeper’s sons didn’t get a dime.

Much of the stolen money was funneled through a fake “Forge” bank account which sought to imitate the legitimate and totally unrelated business Forge Consulting.

The Satterfield case is among the most shocking, due to Murdaugh’s personal ties to the family.

But several other victims also fell foul of his schemes.

Hakeem Pinckney (provided)

Among the other victims were the family of Hakeem Pinckney – who he represented through his law firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick (PMPED).

Pinckney was a deaf man who became a quadriplegic after being involved in a horror car crash in 2009. He died two years later.

Murdaugh stole most of a $309,000 settlement and than an additional $89,000 payment meant for Pinckney’s mother.

Another victim was former lieutenant with the South Carolina Highway Patrol Tommy Moore, who hired Murdaugh as his personal injury lawyer when he suffered a broken neck in the line of duty.

Murdaugh has admitted he stole $100,000 of a $125,000 settlement for the officer.

Murdaugh even stole a $121,000 check from his own brother Randy Murdaugh – who also worked at the law firm PMPED.

Rachel Sharp28 November 2023 13:20
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Catch-up: Disgraced legal scion reaches plea deal

Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh has accepted a plea deal in his financial crimes case – admitting to swindling millions of dollars from desperate law firm clients in a scheme that came crashing down around him following the brutal murders of his wife and son.

The disgraced legal dynasty heir appeared in court in Beaufort County on Friday for what was supposed to be a hearing ahead of the start of his trial on a slew of state financial charges.

The hearing was delayed as prosecutors from the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office and Murdaugh’s defence attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin entered closed-door discussions in Judge Clifton Newman’s chambers.

Chief prosecutor Creighton Waters of the state Office of the Attorney General said the plea deal means Murdaugh will serve a “lengthy sentence” that “ensures Mr Murdgah will remain in state prison for a very long time.”

In total, Murdaugh was facing 101 state charges over his vast multi-million-dollar fraud scheme as well as over a bizarre botched hitman plot where he claims he asked Curtis Eddie Smith – his alleged accomplice, distant cousin and drug dealer – to shoot him in the head so that his surviving son could get a $10m life insurance windfall.

The convicted killer previously confessed to stealing millions from clients going back more than a decade during bombshell courtroom testimony at his murder trial – all the while continuing to profess his innocence in his wife Maggie and son Paul’s murders.

Read the full story about what happened here:

Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh takes plea deal in financial fraud case

Guilty plea in state financial crimes case comes as Murdaugh is fighting for a new trial over the murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul

Rachel Sharp28 November 2023 13:40

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