Alex Murdaugh has been arrested on his release from rehab in Florida for allegedly syphoning off a $4.3 million settlement meant for the sons of his housekeeper who died in a mysterious ‘trip and fall’ at his home back in 2018.
Murdaugh, who was charged last month over a botched hitman scheme and is a person of interest in his wife and son’s double murder, was taken into custody Thursday morning in Orlando by agents with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The heir to a powerful South Carolina legal dynasty, 53, faces two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses over the misappropriation of settlement funds in the death of Gloria Satterfield, 57.
Satterfield’s family said they haven’t received a dime from a $4.3 million wrongful death settlement agreement.
Instead, court documents last week claimed Murdaugh syphoned off $3.5 million of the insurance payout to his own shell company called Forge – which was actually a PO Box in Hampton, South Carolina.
The legal scion has also been accused of stealing millions from his law firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick (PMPED) to help fund a 20-year opioid addiction that has left him in financial ruin.
Murdaugh had been holed up in a drug rehab facility in Orlando, Florida, for the last month after posting bond on charges that he paid a hitman to shoot him in the head and kill him for a multi-million-dollar insurance windfall.
Alex Murdaugh (pictured in mug Thursday) has been arrested on his release from rehab in Florida for allegedly syphoning off a $4.3 million settlement meant for the sons of his housekeeper who died in a mysterious ‘trip and fall’ at his home back in 2018
Gloria Satterfield, 57, (pictured) had been the Murdaugh housekeeper for around 25 years when she died following a mystery ‘trip and fall’ inside the Murdaugh family in 2018
Murdaugh was taken to Orange County Corrections Thursday where he will be held until he receives an extradition hearing to send him back to South Carolina for a bond hearing.
A spokesperson for Murdaugh told WISTV he is expected to be back in Beaufort, South Carolina, for the bond hearing Friday.
Satterfield’s family celebrated the news of Murdaugh’s arrest Thursday, saying: ‘The bottom line is no one is above the law.’
SLED Chief Mark Keel said in a statement that the legal scion’s arrest marks the first step in bringing justice for all those who have been ‘victimized by Alex Murdaugh and others.’
‘Today is merely one more step in a long process for justice for the many victims in these investigations,’ said Keel.
‘I want to commend the hard work and dedication that our agents have shown over the last four months.
‘They will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of those who were victimized by Alex Murdaugh and others.
‘As I have said previously, we are committed to following the facts wherever they may lead us and we will not stop until justice is served.’
Keel did not go into detail about what he meant by ‘these investigations’ over the last ‘four months.’
However, Murdaugh’s arrest comes almost exactly four months to the day that his son Paul and wife Maggie were found shot dead at the family hunting lodge in South Carolina.
At the time, Paul was awaiting trial for the 2019 death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach, who was killed as a passenger in a boat he crashed while allegedly drunk driving.
No arrests have ever been made and no suspects or persons of interest named over their murders.
Murdaugh’s attorney finally admitted Wednesday that he is a person of interest in their slayings.
Since their murders, the SLED has launched multiple other investigations tied to Murdaugh and his family.
An investigation was launched last month after Murdaugh was shot in the head by the side of a road in Hampton County.
The check for $2.96 million above was paid to Murdaugh’s shell company called Forge the same day a settlement was reached over Satterfield’s death, court documents ckaim
Murdaugh in court last month over his botched plot to hire a hitman to kill him for an insurance windfall
Murdaugh was arrested and charged over the incident days later after he confessed to cops that he paid an accomplice to shoot and kill him so that his surviving son Buster could receive a $10 million life insurance payout.
This came after SLED also reopened the investigation into the 2015 death of gay teen Stephen Smith.
The teen’s death was ruled a hit-and-run, though no suspects have ever been named or charged and there was no evidence he was struck by a vehicle.
Stephen was a classmate of Murdaugh’s son Buster and there were rumors reported at the time that he was in a relationship with him.
Last month, cops also opened an investigation into Satterfield’s death.
Satterfield, 57, had been the Murdaugh housekeeper and nanny for around 25 years when she died following a ‘trip and fall’ inside the Murdaugh family home back in February 2018.
Satterfield was found by Murdaugh’s wife Maggie on the front steps of the family home bleeding and the family said she had tripped over their dogs. She died weeks later.
Buster, Maggie, Paul and Alex Murdaugh. Murdaugh’s wife Maggie and son Paul were found shot dead at the family’s hunting lodge in a horrific double murder four months ago
Buster (center) is hugged at the funeral for his mom and brother back on June 11. No arrests have been made for their murders
The 57-year-old’s death was not reported to the coroner at the time and no autopsy was carried out.
The death certificate cites the manner of death as ‘natural’ – something that is inconsistent with injuries sustained in a trip and fail accident.
This does not match the information documented in the wrongful death suit which said she died as a ‘result of injuries sustained in a trip and fall accident, in Hampton County’.
Murdaugh allegedly then defrauded the Satterfield family out of a $4.3 million wrongful death settlement – which they said they had not received a dime of.
Last week, new legal documents claimed Murdaugh set up a fake firm called Forge to syphon off $3.5 million of the settlement money when it was paid out by his insurance firms.
A motion, filed October 5 by Satterfield’s sons Tony Satterfield and Brian Harriott, said the payouts were redirected to what was essentially a PO Box in Hampton instead of to them.
Two other defendants were named in the civil suit – Murdaugh’s old college roommate Cory Fleming, who acted as a lawyer on behalf of Satterfield’s families, and Chad Westendorf, Vice President of Palmetto State Bank who took over the sons as personal representative of their mom’s estate at Murdaugh’s apparent encouragement.
Court documents last week claimed Murdaugh syphoned off $3.5 million of the $4.3 million insurance payout of Satterfield’s family to his own shell company called Forge. It also claims Murdaugh’s close friend lawyer Corey Fleming (right) and banker with Palmetto State Bank Chad Westendorf (left) were involved in the scheme
On January 7 2019, Fleming allegedly received a $505,000 check from Lloyd’s Underwriters – one of the insurance firms Murdaugh had a policy with. The check is pictured above
That same day, Fleming allegedly wrote a check for $403,500 to Murdaugh’s shell account Forge (seen above)
Fleming had his law license suspended Friday but has insisted he was also a victim of Murdaugh’s deceit.
He reached an undisclosed settlement with Satterfield’s family earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Westendorf returned his Personal Representation fee of $30,000 to the Satterfield estate Tuesday.
The new motion provided details of how two large payouts from two separate insurers were allegedly redirected to Murdaugh and called for the disgraced attorney and his alleged co-conspirators to be held in contempt of court for violating the orders approving the settlement.
Murdaugh, Fleming and Westendorf are accused of negotiating $4.3 million in payouts from Lloyd’s Underwriters and Nautilus Insurance Company – two insurance companies with which Murdaugh held policies.
They then allegedly sent more than $3.5 million of the funds to Murdaugh’s shell company Forge.
Satterfield’s sons were allegedly kept in the dark about both the settlements and court meetings, were not invited to any mediations and received zero payments.
In March 2019, Fleming then secured an additional settlement from Nautilus Insurance Company to the tune of $3.8 million. The check was made payable to Westendorf as the estate representative and Fleming’s law firm on April 18 (check seen above)
Minus legal fees and expenses, Satterfield’s family were entitled to $2.765 million in a settlement which was approved by Judge Mullen on May 13. The check above reveals Fleming sent a check for $2.96 million to Forge that day
According to the 69-page motion, Westendorf was appointed as the new personal representative of Satterfield’s estate on December 18 2018 – replacing her son Tony.
The very next day, Fleming filed a petition to get court permission to access a partial settlement in the wrongful death suit for $505,000 while reserving the right to pursue ‘additional insurance coverage that is applicable to this matter.’
Satterfield’s sons believe this settlement was agreed prior to the change in hands between Tony and Westendorf.
A check for this settlement was dated for December 4 2018 – two weeks prior to Westendorf’s appointment.
This partial settlement was approved by Judge Carmen Mullen but, the sons claim, they were never told anything about it.
On January 7 2019, Fleming then allegedly received a $505,000 check from Lloyd’s Underwriters.
That same day, Fleming allegedly wrote a check for $403,500 to Murdaugh’s shell account Forge.
According to the suit, a company in Atlanta, Georgia, shares this name but in fact this check was sent to a PO Box address in Hampton at Murdaugh’s request.
On October 5 2020, Fleming and Murdaugh filed for a dismissal of the settlement which Mullen approved – on the basis that an agreement had been reached by all parties. The next day – October 6 – Fleming wrote a check to Forge for $168,000 (above)
In March 2019, Fleming then secured an additional settlement from Nautilus Insurance Company to the tune of $3.8 million – which Satterfield’s sons again claim they had no knowledge of.
Westendorf signed a conditional release which stipulated the funds would be paid directly to him in April 2019.
Documents included in the motion reveal the check was made payable to Westendorf as the estate representative and Fleming’s law firm on April 18.
In total, the two insurance companies had paid out $4.305 million.
Minus legal fees and expenses, Satterfield’s family were entitled to $2.765 million in a settlement which was approved by Judge Mullen on May 13.
A check submitted with the motion reveals Fleming sent a check for $2.96 million to Forge that very same day.
Murdaugh in mug after his arrest over the suicide hitman plot. The charges are now racking up against the powerful attorney
Then, on October 5 2020, Fleming and Murdaugh filed for a dismissal of the settlement which Mullen approved – on the basis that an agreement had been reached by all parties.
The next day – October 6 – Fleming wrote a check to Forge for $168,000.
Fleming also paid himself $666,000 in legal fees.
He was awarded $1.435 million in fees – $168,333 in the Lloyd’s payout and $1.27 million in the Nautilus deal – but allegedly paid the remainder to Murdaugh.
Westendorf did not appear to pay himself for his involvement. Rather, he ‘allowed all of the settlement proceeds to be misapplied by Fleming and Murdaugh.’
The settlement statement signed by Westendorf also lists prosecution expenses of $105,000 deducted from the $4.3 million total package but it is not clear where this money went.
The motion does not suggest Mullen was involved in the scheme and instead says she too was ‘misled’ after Murdaugh and his alleged co-conspirators ‘lied to the court’.
At the same time, millions of dollars was also allegedly going missing from Murdaugh’s law firm PMPED, according to a separate lawsuit filed against Murdaugh by his ex-partners.
No charges have yet been brought over this allegation but Murdaugh resigned from the firm at the request of the partners.
The charges against the man who is heir to a powerful legal dynasty which has dominated South Carolina for the best part of a century are now racking up.
Murdaugh was charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false report over the botched hitman plot last month.
His alleged co-conspirator Curtis Edward Smith, 61, was also charged over the incident and released on bond.
Smith has claimed he was not in on the plot and was trying to wrestle the gun from Murdaugh when it went off.
Curtis Edward Smith, 61, is seen at his bond hearing last month at Hampton County Detention Center where is accused of being the co-conspirator in Murdaugh’s botched hitman plot
Family murders, deaths, drug addictions, thefts and arrests: The riddles facing investigators who’ve now charged Alex Murdaugh
2015: Teenager Stephen Smith dies
Smith was found on the side of the road.
Cops investigating the double murder have also reopened the case into a 2015 hit-and-run of teen Stephen Smith
Police officially rule his death a hit-and-run but he had suffered blunt force trauma to the head
His mother has since shared her belief that she thinks he was killed in a hate-crime because he was gay
Case notes obtained by DailyMail.com revealed Paul’s older brother Buster was named multiple times in the investigation.
Police wanted to know more about his relationship with Stephen
Stephen’s mother said he had been having a ‘fling’.
In a deposition years later, one of Paul’s friends said the family had ‘covered’ other killings up.
He mentioned Smith’s death.
2018: Murdaugh family housekeeper Gloria Satterfield dies
Murdaugh family housekeeper Gloria Sattlerfield dies
Gloria died after ‘falling’ down the stairs in the family house
The family gave her family $500.000 in a wrongful death settlement but it’s unclear why her death was ruled to be their fault.
Alex Murdaugh was listed as the defendant in the lawsuit.
Satterfield was only 57 when she died.
She left behind a husband and children.
Her death was also mentioned in the deposition by Paul Murdaugh’s friend.
2019: Mallory Beach dies being thrown from boat driven by Paul Murdaugh
Mallory Beach, 19, died in February 2019
Paul was charged afterwards because he’d been drinking and was behaving ‘belligerently’ that night.
He had been released on bond.
Other kids were on the boat but were unharmed.
One testified that they were scared to speak about the Murdaugh family because they knew how to ‘cover things up’.
That boy named Stephen Smith and the housekeeper, and claimed Paul pushed her
June 7 2021: Paul and Maggie are murdered
The mom and son were found shot dead at the family home in Hampton, South Carolina.
Alex Murdaugh says he found them at the home.
The medical examiner said the pair had been dead for an hour at most when he discovered them.
Alex’s son Paul, 22, (left) and wife Maggie, 52, (right) were found dead from multiple gunshot wounds on June 7 at the family hunting lodge
Alex’s father Randolph Murdaugh III died ‘peacefully’ at home three days after Maggie and Paul were found shot dead
June 10 2021: Alex’s 81-year-old father Randolph Murdaugh III dies ‘naturally’ and ‘peacefully’ at home
September 3: Alex resigns from his law firm amid claims he misused funds
The firm has hired a forensic investigator to go through the accounts
September 4: Alex calls 911 claiming he’s been shot in the head in a drive-by.
He only had ‘surface’ wounds and was also able to call his brother
September 6: Alex resigns from his law firm
The South Carolina legal scion releases a statement confirming his resignation from the firm and announcing he has entered rehab
He said: ‘I’m resigning from my law firm and entering rehab after a long battle that has been exacerbated these murders.’
September 16: Alex turns himself into police over insurance fraud scheme
Murdaugh handed himself over to cops in connection to insurance fraud scheme where he arranged his own killing so that his surviving son could collect $10 million payout.
He faces charges of insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report.
Alex Murdaugh is ARRESTED on leaving rehab for ‘syphoning $4.3M settlement in housekeeper’s death’ Source link Alex Murdaugh is ARRESTED on leaving rehab for ‘syphoning $4.3M settlement in housekeeper’s death’