South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh faces several new charges

Alex Murdaugh’s attorney admits disgraced lawyer knows he’s going to jail

Criminal defense attorney Brian Claypool reacts to the latest development in the Murdaugh family murder mystery saga

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson on Friday announced several new indictments totaling 27 counts against disgraced South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh.

The additional charges include four counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent; seven counts of obtaining signature or property by false pretenses; seven counts of money laundering; eight counts of computer crimes; and one count of forgery.

“Altogether, Murdaugh is charged with respect to alleged schemes to defraud victims and thereafter launder $4,853,488.09,” Wilson’s office said Friday.

Alex Murdaugh appeared in a new mugshot following his arrest in Orlando, Florida
(Orange County Corrections)

Last week, Murdaugh, 63, pleaded the fifth, refusing to incriminate himself in a lawsuit alleging he embezzled millions from a prominent law firm founded by his great-grandfather. He is currently in custody at Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center.

The complaint filed on Nov. 12 on behalf of Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick, P.A., (PMPED) alleges Murdaugh was converting client and law firm money to his own personal use via a fraudulent Bank of America account without authorization. 

The name of the account was “Alexander Murdaugh d/b/a Forge,” which is a fictitious entity that provides no services and makes no products for sale, according to the filing.

The complaint says PMPED was unaware of Murdaugh’s scheme until Sept. 2 when a check was found on his desk made payable to his name, instead of the law firm, and had a notation showing it had been deposited into Murdaugh’s personal account. 

Alex Murdaugh awaits the beginning of his bond hearing in the Richland Judicial Center in Columbia, S.C., Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021.
((AP Photo/Lewis M. Levine, Pool))

PMPED notified the Hampton County Sheriff’s Office and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) of Murdaugh’s suspected criminal activity on Sept. 4, the same day Murdaugh staged a botched suicide attempt.

Murdaugh was recently indicted for the suicide shooting attempt by a Hampton County grand jury on counts of conspiracy, false claim or payment in the amount of $10,000 or more and filing a false police report. 

The staged shooting was allegedly meant to allow his surviving son, Buster Murdaugh, to collect on a $10 million life insurance policy.

Murdaugh allegedly admitted to hiring a hitman, Curtis Smith, to shoot him on the side of the road in Hampton County so that his son could collect life insurance. But Smith apparently missed, only grazing Murdaugh in the head, and a judge later released Murdaugh on his own recognizance, allowing him to travel back to out-of-state rehabilitation facilities to treat an alleged 20-year opioid addiction. 

Alex Murdaugh sits during his bond hearing Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, in Varnville, S.C. (AP Photo/Mic Smith)

The former lawyer is also facing a slew of charges from the Colleton County Grand Jury in connection to the complicated series of events.

Still no suspects have been named in the June 7 murders of Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie, 52, and their son Paul, 22. Murdaugh said he returned to their rural Colleton County hunting estate to find them shot to death. 

State police have since opened five more criminal investigations into Murdaugh, including related to the 2015 roadside death of another 19 year old, Stephen Smith, who was once Buster’s classmate. 

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