COLUMBIA, SC (NewsNation Now) – Prominent South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh was arrested Thursday over his connection to missing settlement funds in the wrongful death trial involving his former housekeeper.
Officers from the South Carolina Division of Law Enforcement (SLED) and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement arrested Murdaugh on two counts of obtaining property under false pretenses from his release from a drug rehab center in Orlando.
The charges stem from an SLED investigation into settlement funds embezzled in the death of Gloria Satterfield. Satterfield is believed to have died in a slip-and-fall accident on Murdaugh’s property in 2018.
The Murdaugh family told the Satterfield sons their mother tripped over the family dog and died weeks later from her lingering injuries. The death was never reported to the Hampton County Coroner, who asked state police to investigate why she had not been called to review what she would consider a death accidental.
Still, Murdaugh managed to get over $ 4 million from his insurers, but he only told his sons about $ 500,000 and never sent them to them, according to the lawsuit.
Lawyers for the Satterfield family released documents earlier this month that they say may prove Alex Murdaugh was the mastermind behind the heir fraud fraud of a multi-million dollar wrongful death settlement.
Murdaugh is being held in Orange County Jail in Florida pending his extradition, investigators said. His lawyers vowed in a bail hearing on various charges last month that Murdaugh would return to South Carolina without a fight if charged with additional crimes.
The deaths of Murdaugh’s son and wife at their Colleton County home in June remain unsolved. Murdaugh said he found Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and her son Paul, 22, shot dead after returning home after visiting his father in hospital, authorities said.
State Police have conducted six investigations into Murdaugh, including the deaths and September charges against Murdaugh on insurance fraud and other counts of attempting to arrange his own death so that his surviving son can collect a $ 10 million life insurance policy.
Murdaugh said his head was grazed by a bullet during the attempt. The man accused of shooting Murdaugh said the gun exploded as he tried to stop his friend from shooting himself.
Thursday’s arrest is just another step in the long process of justice across all inquiries, state law enforcement division chief Mark Keel said in a statement.
“As I said before, we are committed to following the facts wherever they take us and we will not stop until justice is served,” Keel said.
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