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Crime Alex Murdaugh denied bond in alleged theft of housekeeper's settlement funds

19:42  19 october  2021
19:42  19 october  2021 Source:   nbcnews.com

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Alex Murdaugh, the embattled South Carolina lawyer accused of plotting his own killing as part of a life insurance scheme, was denied bond Tuesday after facing new charges tied to the embezzling of millions of dollars related to the death of his housekeeper.

a couple of people that are standing together in uniform © Provided by NBC News

Circuit Court Judge Clifton Newman ordered Murdaugh to undergo a psychiatric evaluation following concerns he presents a potential danger to himself and the community. Murdaugh had already been out on another $20,000 personal recognizance bond in September and was allowed to continue treatment at an out-of-state drug detox center for opioid addiction.

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Authorities arrested him in Orlando, Florida, on Thursday and charged him with two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses, which each carry a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

Murdaugh, 53, masked and wearing a jail jumpsuit, did not speak during the hearing.

The Muradaughs' longtime housekeeper and nanny, Gloria Satterfield, died in February 2018 in what was initially described as an accidental fall. Attorneys for her adult sons, Michael "Tony" Satterfield and Brian Harriott, said they received none of the proceeds from a $4.3 million settlement they said was orchestrated in secret by Murdaugh. Attorneys for the sons say they are owed more than $2.7 million.

During the bond hearing, state prosecutor Creighton Waters said Murdaugh had promised to help Satterfield's sons financially after her death by paying them financial proceeds from a life insurance policy. But instead, Waters said, Murdaugh set up the sons with another attorney, Cory Fleming, a close friend and former college roommate, to represent the family's estate. The sons maintain they were unaware of the pair's friendship.

Alex Murdaugh Now Charged in Dead Housekeeper’s Missing Settlement Money

  Alex Murdaugh Now Charged in Dead Housekeeper’s Missing Settlement Money South Carolina legal scion Alex Murdaugh faces criminal charges—again. The 53-year-old lawyer already accused of orchestrating his own murder for an insurance payout has been criminally charged in connection with millions of “misappropriated settlement funds” in the death of his former housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, authorities announced Thursday. He was taken into custody Thursday morning and charged with two counts of obtaining property by false pretenses after being released from his drug facility in Orlando, Florida. “Today is merely one more step in a long process for justice for the many victims in these investigations.

Waters said Fleming helped to divert millions of dollars to an account set up by Murdaugh for a fake company called Forge, which was named after a legitimate financial consulting company unaffiliated with the case.

"This account was nothing more than illusion, a fabrication, to create the illusion that these checks were going to a legitimate financial consultant, when in reality it went to an account that he controlled," Waters said.

He added that Murdaugh used the money to pay off credit card debts and write checks to himself and his father, and that there may be another $118,000 stolen.

"Not a dime goes to this family," said Waters, pointing to Satterfield's family sitting behind him.

Fleming's law license was suspended this month in the wake of the allegations. He could not immediately be reached for comment Tuesday.

Satterfield was 57 when she died from injuries sustained from a fall in the Murdaugh home, where she was an employee for more than two decades, prosecutors said. The estate's lawyers said Murdaugh had told others that the family dogs had caused her to trip and fall down the stairs. Satterfield was in a coma for three weeks before she died.

Lawyer: Murdaugh knows he'll go to prison for stealing money

  Lawyer: Murdaugh knows he'll go to prison for stealing money COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The attorney for prominent South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh, who discovered his wife and son dead at their home this summer, said Murdaugh is resigned that he will serve time in prison for stealing millions of dollars. But Murdaugh continues to insist he had nothing to do with their shooting deaths and regrets if his actions have hindered investigators trying to find who killed his wife, Maggie, and son Paul. “He hasBut Murdaugh continues to insist he had nothing to do with their shooting deaths and regrets if his actions have hindered investigators trying to find who killed his wife, Maggie, and son Paul.

Satterfield's death is one of several threads that state investigators are working to untangle involving Murdaugh.

The Hampton County coroner recently requested her case be reopened because no autopsy was performed at the time of her death and "on the death certificate, the manner of death was ruled 'natural,' which is inconsistent with injuries sustained in a trip and fall accident."

a group of people posing for a photo: From left, Paul, Margaret and Alex Murdaugh. (via Facebook) © Provided by NBC News From left, Paul, Margaret and Alex Murdaugh. (via Facebook)

Murdaugh's personal struggles and financial dealings have come under intense scrutiny since June, when he found his wife, Margaret, and son, Paul, fatally shot on the family's rural estate in South Carolina's Lowcountry. Their deaths remain unsolved.

Murdaugh's attorneys revealed last week that authorities were looking at him as a person of interest, but insisted he has an alibi: visiting his mother, who has dementia, and her caregiver on the night his wife and son were slain.

The investigation prompted state authorities to look into other actions by Murdaugh — set off by an alleged plan to arrange having someone kill him over Labor Day weekend in a roadside shooting so that another son, Buster, would receive money from a $10 million life insurance policy.

Alex Murdaugh asks to leave jail after 5 days behind bars

  Alex Murdaugh asks to leave jail after 5 days behind bars COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Lawyers for prominent South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh plan to ask a judge on Tuesday to grant bond for their client, who has spent five nights in jail following his second arrest in about a month. Murdaugh, whose wife and son were shot to death months ago in a killing that is still unresolved, stole $3.4 million of insurance money that was meant for the sons of his housekeeper, who died after falling in his home, according to sworn statements by the State Law Enforcement Division.

Murdaugh's lawyers said he was depressed over the deaths of his wife and son and was spiraling from a 20-year drug addiction to opioids when he decided that he wanted to die.

Murdaugh was charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report. Another man, Curtis Edward Smith, was charged in connection with the plot, but has denied he knew about the plan beforehand.

The funds in the Satterfield settlement aren't the only finances under scrutiny.

Murdaugh has also been accused by his former law firm of pocketing potentially millions of dollars, which led his law license to be indefinitely suspended in September.

Estate of deceased Alex Murdaugh housekeeper reaches settlement with his former law firm .
"The Satterfields and the law firm have reconciled their differences," attorney Eric Bland said."The Satterfields and the law firm have reconciled their differences," attorney Eric Bland, who represents the Satterfield estate, told CNN.

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