Accused Alex Murdaugh accomplice Cory Fleming to plead guilty to federal charge

Accused Alex Murdaugh accomplice and co-conspirator Cory H. Fleming, 54, of Beaufort, has been indicted on federal charges and is scheduled to plead guilty in federal court in Charleston Thursday, May 25 to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Fleming, a suspended Beaufort attorney and longtime friend of Richard Alexander “Alex” Murdaugh's, is scheduled to plead guilty to allegations that from around March 2018 until at least October 2020, Fleming conspired with former personal injury attorney Murdaugh to defraud the estate of Murdaugh’s former housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, and to obtain money and property from the estate by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses.

In a plea agreement signed by Fleming May 22, he agrees to pay full restitution and fully cooperate with the investigation involving Murdaugh, who is also facing federal charges after an indictment released the same day as Fleming's plea.

Cory Fleming, at left, with defense attorney Deborah Barbier, stands in the Hampton County Courthouse Friday for a status conference hearing on his criminal charges.

Alex Murdaugh recommends Fleming after housekeeper's death

In February 2018, Murdaugh’s housekeeper died after a fall at his home. Murdaugh recommended that the housekeeper’s estate hire Fleming—then a personal injury and criminal defense attorney in Beaufort—to represent them and file a claim against Murdaugh to collect from his homeowner’s insurance policies.  Murdaugh’s insurance companies settled the estate’s claim for $505,000 and $3,800,000.

State and federal documents allege that, as part of the scheme, Murdaugh and Fleming conspired to siphon settlement funds, disguised as “prosecution expenses,” for their own personal enrichment.

Fleming allegedly directed the drafting of checks from the settlement funds held in his trust account to his personal bank account, fraudulently claiming that the funds were to pay for “expenses” related to the estate’s claim against Murdaugh. The information alleges Fleming knew the funds belonged to the estate, and the payments were not for legitimate legal expenses.

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Cory Fleming heads to court

"Today has been a great day for justice in South Carolina related to the ongoing criminal investigations into Alex Murdaugh and Cory Fleming," Satterfield attorney Eric Bland said Wednesday in an emailed release. "... While it is said that Lady Justice is blind, she is not a sucker. Bottom Line—Can’t run or hide from justice."

The hearing is scheduled for 2 p.m. at the J. Waties Waring Judicial Center, in Charleston, S.C., before Judge Richard M. Gergel.

Fleming faces a maximum penalty of up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emily Limehouse, Kathleen Stoughton, and Winston Holliday are prosecuting the case.

This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Alex Murdaugh saga: Accused accomplice to plead guilty in federal court