Convicted Killer Lawyer Pleads Guilty to Fraud, Money Laundering Charges in South Carolina

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The infamous former attorney from South Carolina, found guilty in March for the murder of his wife and son, has submitted a guilty plea for close to two dozen charges related to fraud and money laundering. This took place in a federal courtroom in Charleston on Thursday morning.

The charges are connected to a plot where Murdaugh, with the assistance of a bank employee, is alleged to have swindled his personal injury clients and laundered over $7 million of their funds. The accusation is that Murdaugh utilized the settlement funds for his personal benefits, including the clearance of personal loans and covering personal expenses and cash withdrawals.

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Overcome with emotion, Murdaugh made his guilty plea willingly and openly to the judge. He expressed that he was taking this course not only because he was culpable for the crimes, but to inspire his son, Buster, to recognize his responsibility for his actions and to support the healing process for his victims. This account comes from three attorneys who attended the proceedings.

Murdaugh conceded to plead guilty to a total of 22 charges: one count each of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, along with five counts of wire fraud and 14 counts of money laundering.

Most of these charges carry a maximum federal sentence of 20 years, while four of the charges have a maximum sentence of 30 years. The presiding judge, US District Court Judge Richard Gergel, ratified the plea agreement between Murdaugh and federal prosecutors. The date for the federal sentencing for Murdaugh will be determined later by Judge Gergel.

“Alex Murdaugh’s financial crimes were extensive, brazen, and callous,” commented US Attorney Adair F. Boroughs. He added that Murdaugh had stolen without discrimination, his clients, his firm and those who trusted him being amongst the victims. The prosecutor’s office, the FBI and SLED had committed to probing and indictment of Murdaugh’s financial crimes once they were exposed and now they were fulfilling that promise.

The plea agreement asserts that the government attorneys would recommend that any federal sentence he acquires for these charges be concurrent to any state sentence for the same conduct if Murdaugh cooperates and adheres to the conditions. It doesn’t, however, have any sentence recommendation.

Interestingly, Murdaugh, who confessed to having previously lied under oath, is now required to tell the truth. The agreement would be invalidated if he were to break this clause. A significant portion of the agreement revolves around Murdaugh assisting the government in repaying victims and locating missing assets. Murdaugh has been mandated to compensate his victims and surrender a total of $9 million in assets alongside submitting to a polygraph if required by the government. He could possibly provide testimony before grand juries or future trials.

Bamberg, who represents several of Murdaugh’s victims in his financial crimes, criticizes the plea agreement. He opines that Murdaugh should not be offered any benefit in exchange for his guilty plea given the severity of his crimes. He adds that Murdaugh’s victims are looking forward to him receiving the sentences he earned through his criminal conduct.

This is another legal blow to Murdaugh, the descendant of a notable local family of attorneys and prosecutors in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. He was found guilty of the murders of his wife Maggie and son Paul in 2021 and sentenced to life imprisonment in two consecutive terms, without any scope of parole. His lawyers had initiated the appeals process after his conviction, but earlier this month, the appeal was suspended as they sought a new trial, citing allegations of jury tampering.

Murdaugh also happens to be embroiled in several other state and federal cases, facing over 100 additional charges. His trial over charges relating to stealing settlement funds from the Murdaughs’ late housekeeper’s family is set for November. These represent the first in a series of state charges he faces in purported schemes to swindle his victims of millions, including embezzlement, computer crime, money laundering, and tax evasion.