Third round of indictments levied against former SC attorney Alex Murdaugh

·5 min read

Editor's note: The number of indictments and the grant total of alleged fraud amounts was incorrect in the previous version of this story.

South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced Friday that the South Carolina State Grand Jury issued four indictments consisting of 23 new charges against suspended attorney Richard Alexander Murdaugh.

These new indictments charge Murdaugh with 19 counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent and four counts of computer crimes.

Murdaugh is now facing a total of 74 criminal charges, confirmed Robert Kittle, a spokesperson for the S.C. Attorney General's Office – 71 for state indictments and three on local indictments.

Altogether, Murdaugh is charged in the new January State Grand Jury Indictments with respect to alleged schemes to defraud victims of $2,273,959.98. When combined with the State Grand Jury Indictments from November and December 2021, there are 15 indictments containing 71 charges alleging a total fraud of $8,492,888.31.

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While acting as a licensed attorney, Murdaugh is accused of stealing from his clients, former law partners, other attorneys and even the family of his deceased housekeeper in an alleged financial crime spree that spans several counties and more than a decade.

Read the Jan. 21 indictments below:

In the first January indictment, venued in Allendale County, Murdaugh was charged with 14 counts of Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent, Value More Than $2,000, but Less than $10,000, and one count of Computer Crime, Value $10,000 or More. The indictments arise out of an alleged scheme to defraud the victim, legal client Arthur Badger, of a total of $1,325,000.00.

In this indictment, Murdaugh allegedly used Badger's legal settlements to purchase money orders payable to a family member, to a business associate, and "into a conservator's account for a different person from which Murdaugh had previously been allowed to borrow money."

In the second new indictment, venued in Hampton County, Murdaugh was charged with two counts of Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent, Value $10,000 or More; and one count of Computer Crime, Value $10,000 or More. The indictments arise out of an alleged scheme to defraud the victim, legal client Natasha Thomas, of a total of $350,245.08.

In this scheme, Murdaugh allegedly used Thomas's legal settlements to purchase a money order payable to a family member and a money order payable to Palmetto State Bank in Hampton.

In the third indictment, venued in Hampton County, Murdaugh was charged with two counts of Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent, Value $10,000 or More; and two counts Computer Crime, Value $10,000 or More.

The indictments arise out of an alleged scheme to defraud the victim, legal client Hakeem Pinckney, a deaf quadriplegic, for a total of $398,714.90.

According to the indictment, Murdaugh allegedly used Pinckney's settlement funds "in part to purchase money orders payable to a family member and to other client conservatorship accounts from which Murdaugh previously borrowed money, in part to pay down a personal business loan, and in part to obtain cash for himself and a different family member."

In a superseding indictment, venued in Allendale County: in addition to prior charges of two counts of Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent, Value $10,000 or More; and Computer Crime, Value $10,000 or More, Murdaugh is charged with an additional count of Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent, Value $10,000 or More. The indictments arise out of an alleged scheme to defraud the victims, including legal client Deon Martin, of $200,000, in addition to the $383,056.14 fraud previously indicted.

Murdaugh allegedly stole Martin's legal settlements and used them "for expenses including but not limited to credit card bills, cash, and checks written to himself and associates."

Murdaugh also was indicted in November and December 2021 by the South Carolina State Grand Jury for 48 counts including Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent, Obtaining Property by False Pretenses, Money Laundering, Computer Crimes, and Forgery.

Murdaugh, 53, was suspended from the practice of law by Order of the Supreme Court of South Carolina on Sept. 8, 2021.

In local indictments, Murdaugh was previously indicted by a Colleton County Grand Jury for offenses related to a scheme to commit suicide and defraud an insurance company during the Labor Day 2021 weekend.

Murdaugh is currently in custody at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Richland County, S.C., on a $7 million bond with no ten percent option.

Previous Indictments

In previous indictments, Murdaugh is accused of stealing money from his former law client, other attorneys, his former law firm and the family of his late housekeeper.

On Dec. 9, 2021, the State Grand Jury issued seven indictments consisting of 21 charges against Murdaugh. These indictments charged Murdaugh with nine counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent, seven counts of computer crimes, four counts of money laundering and one count of forgery.

On Nov. 19, 2021, the State Grand Jury issued five indictments, totaling 27 counts against Murdaugh. These indictments charged Murdaugh with 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.

In December, Murdaugh was charged with respect to alleged schemes to defraud victims of $1,365,440.24. When combined with the State Grand Jury Indictments from November, the alleged total was $6,218,923.33.

This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Alex Murdaugh news: 23 new charges brought against former SC lawyer

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