Convicted murderer and disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh was indicted by a federal grand jury on Wednesday for financial crimes related to his housekeeper’s 2018 death. Murdaugh was convicted of the double homicide of his wife Margaret and youngest son Paul in March and sentenced to two consecutive life terms without parole.
The 22-count indictment of financial fraud includes allegations that Murdaugh stole $3.5 million from the estate of long-time housekeeper Gloria Satterfield, by directing a personal injury attorney to route the funds to a bank account for Murdaugh’s personal use. Satterfield’s estate initially received none of the $4.3 million payout, after being employed by the Murdaughs for more than two decades.
In October 2021, Satterfield’s estate reached a settlement with Cory Fleming, Murdaugh’s best friend and the lawyer who had represented the Statterfiled brothers in the wrongful death insurance lawsuit.
Earlier this month, in a lawsuit brought by Nautilus Insurance Co. claiming insurance fraud Murdaugh’s counsel admitted that he invented critical facts surrounding Satterfield’s death. In order to obtain the multi-million dollar settlement, Murdaugh made the insurance claim based on the assertion that his dogs caused a trip and fall accident on stairs outside the now infamous ‘Moselle’ family home.
In the legal filing, Murdaugh’s lawyers recanted his story, writing:
No dogs were involved in the fall of Gloria Satterfield on February 2, 2018.
His attorneys revealed that story was fiction, writing that he:
…invented Ms. Satterfield’s purported statement that dogs caused her to fall to force his insurers to make a settlement payment.
One of Murdaugh’s lawyers, Jim Griffin suggested that the Satterfields and their counsel should be added to the insurance fraud lawsuit claiming they are culpable, saying,
…because they have ultimately recovered the fraudulent insurance proceeds.
The Satterfields have opposed the changing story regarding the circumstances surrounding the death.
Their attorney Eric Bland posted to social media slamming the notion that the claim was based on fictional information because it was investigated before it was paid out. Bland also called Murdaugh’s credibility into question, writing:
Seems there is buzz because liar liar Alex now says he allegedly made up the story that Gloria Satterfield didn’t fall down Moselle stairs by his dogs. Since when did Alex become the modicum of honesty and credibility. A colleton county jury said that he’s not credible and Judge Gergel in his later order with Laffitte said he’s not credible.
Additionally, we recovered money for our clients from parties other than Nautilus for breaches of their duties to our clients and other claims. Technically the money that Nautilus paid never came to our clients. It was stolen by Alex so there is an argument that they still owe it to our clients by releases signed by the parties.
These insurers had investigators investigate the claim thoroughly before they paid on the claim. Insurers are not in the business of paying out millions of dollars frivolous or fraudulent claims. Additionally they also had lawyers who did their jobs and investigated the claim before it was paid. This is nothing but noise. Just gutless people trying to continue to victimize Gloria’s siblings and children
Seems there is buzz because liar liar Alex now says he allegedly made up the story that Gloria Satterfield didnt fall down Moselle stairs by his dogs. Since when did Alex become the modicum of honesty and credibility. A colleton county jury said that he’s not credible and judge…
— Eric Bland (@TheEricBland) May 2, 2023
Bland followed up with a post claiming the Satterfields shouldn’t have to pay back any of the insurance money, writing:
What ill gotten gains did Nautilis insurance company pay to the Satterfields or their attorneys? Not one red cent. They have nothing to get back from the Satterfield’s because the money was stolen by Alex. Nautilus is doing the right thing by suing Alex that’s where they will go and get their money back.
What ill gotten gains did Nautilis insurance company pay to the Satterfields or their attorneys? Not one red cent. They have nothing to get back from the Satterfield’s because the money was stolen by Alex. Nautilus is doing the right thing by suing Alex that’s where they will go…
— Eric Bland (@TheEricBland) May 2, 2023
On Wednesday, Murdaugh attorneys Jim Griffin and Richard “Dick” Harpootlian, said that he is cooperating with the federal investigation and “anticipate that the charges brought today will be quickly resolved without a trial.”