Alex Murdaugh, the disgraced South Carolina former lawyer convicted of murdering his wife and son to distract from massive fraud, has agreed to plead guilty to nearly two dozen federal charges alleging he bilked millions from his clients.
In a Monday night plea agreement filed in federal court, Murdaugh indicated that he will plead guilty to crimes including money laundering, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud. If a federal judge approves the deal at a hearing Thursday in Charleston, the 54-year-old would face more than 30 years in prison.
Murdaugh agreed to tell investigators anything he knows about other criminal activities, submit to polygraph examinations, and forfeit assets related to at least $9 million stolen from victims.
Murdaugh is serving two life sentences in state prison after being convicted of murdering his wife and son at the family’s hunting estate in June 2021. Federal prosecutors can recommend that he serve any new prison sentence concurrently with his state sentence as part of the plea bargain.
Murdaugh is also set to stand trial in November on state charges that he stole insurance settlement funds from the family of his late housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, and still faces more than 100 state charges, ranging from drug trafficking to staging his own suicide in order for his eldest son to acquire his $10 million life insurance policy.
The federal charges mirror financial crimes that he is already facing at the state level—some of which he admitted to during his murder trial. Testifying in his own defense, Murdaugh admitted that he stole money from his family’s law firm and his clients for years.
“I misled them. I did them wrong, and I stole their money,” he said.
Prosecutors allege that Murdaugh engaged in three schemes to steal from his clients: defrauding them by directing personal injury settlements into his personal accounts; conspiring with a former bank teller to divert funds from client settlements; and establishing a bank account with a similar name as a legitimate insurance settlement corporation to hide his fraud. The indictment states that Murdaugh used the funds for his “personal benefit, including using the proceeds to pay off personal loans and for personal expenses and cash withdrawals.”
“Trust in our legal system begins with trust in its lawyers,” U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs said after the indictment in May. “South Carolinians turn to lawyers when they are at their most vulnerable, and in our state, those who abuse the public’s trust and enrich themselves by fraud, theft, and self-dealing will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.