Alex Murdaugh coordinated with the family of the former housekeeper to sue himself for the insurance money, then took $ 3 million, according to affidavits

Alex Murdaugh coordinated with the family of the former housekeeper to sue himself for the insurance money, then took $ 3 million, according to affidavits

Murdaugh was arrested Thursday in Florida on suspicion of embezzlement of settlement funds in connection with the death of Gloria Satterfield, authorities said.

Satterfield, who worked for the Murdaughs for more than two decades, died of what has been described as a “trip and fall accident” at the Murdaugh’s home in 2018, according to attorney Eric Bland, who represents his estate. Bland filed a lawsuit in September against Murdaugh on behalf of the Satterfield estate to get the money they claim was owed.

According to affidavits released Saturday by the South Carolina Enforcement Division (SLED), “Mr. Murdaugh has coordinated with the family of (Gloria) Satterfield to continue to seek an insurance settlement with the stated intention of giving the proceeds to the Satterfield family to pay for funeral expenses and monetary compensation for the children of Satterfield. Murdaugh deposited more than nearly $ 3 million into an account he owned, according to the affidavits.

In an email to CNN, Bland disputed SLED’s statement.

“These are legitimate claims that have been filed in connection with the death of Gloria Satterfield,” he wrote.

Satterfield died, he wrote, after Murdaugh’s four dogs tripped him and his estate filed a “claim for proper negligence.”

“The claim was not fabricated and Alex appropriately referred them to a lawyer,” he wrote. “The estate was not aware of the extremely close relationship between (Cory) Fleming and Alex Mudaugh, which was not fully disclosed. “

CNN has also reached out to Murdaugh’s attorneys to comment on the affidavits. After Murdaugh’s arrest on Thursday, his attorneys, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, released a statement saying he intended to “fully cooperate with this investigation, as he did with the murder investigation. of his wife and son.

“He deeply regrets that his actions have distracted attention from efforts to elucidate their murders,” the statement said.

Last month, SLED announced the opening of a criminal investigation into Satterfield’s death and the management of his estate, following a request by the Hampton County Coroner which highlighted inconsistencies in the ruling of his death, as well as information gathered from other SLED investigations involving Murdaugh, the agency said.

The inquest into Satterfield’s death follows months of legal and personal challenges for Murdaugh.

In early September, Murdaugh was shot in the head and, according to authorities, later admitted his shooting was a plot with a former client to kill him so that his only surviving son could collect insurance compensation.

Murdaugh’s shooting came less than three months after he called authorities to report that he had found his wife and youngest son shot dead at their home.

Murdaugh waived an extradition hearing in Florida on Friday and returned to South Carolina a day later to face charges related to the embezzlement of settlement funds in connection with Satterfield’s death.

Affidavits released on Saturday describe what authorities say happened after Satterfield’s death. Murdaugh recommended an attorney to the family, and that attorney negotiated insurance settlements of around $ 4.3 million, according to an affidavit.

A settlement agreement stated that $ 2,765,000 was for the Satterfield family, according to the affidavit.

“The Satterfield family were never made aware of the settlement or received the proceeds from it, and the settlement agreement was not properly filed in the court file,” the affidavit said.

Murdaugh ordered the attorney to write a check on a bank account created and held by Murdaugh entitled “Forge” in order “to deprive the Satterfield family of the insurance claims owed to them by converting the 2,961,911.95 $ for personal use of Mr. Murdaugh, ”according to the affidavit. He had previously deposited $ 403,500 in the same account as part of a preliminary settlement agreement, according to a second affidavit.

Alex Murdaugh waives Florida extradition hearing and returns to South Carolina to face charges

While there is a legitimate company called Forge Consulting LLC that handles the insurance settlements, it is not affiliated with the Satterfield Settlement or the “Forge” account owned by Murdaugh, according to the affidavit.

“Mr. Murdaugh titled the ‘Forge’ account as a false statement in order to cover up the misappropriation of the funds in question,” the affidavit added.

After Murdaugh waived his extradition hearing on Friday, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson announced that Murdaugh’s bail hearing on a charge of obtaining property under false pretenses would take place on Tuesday at Richland County Courthouse in Colombia.

CNN’s Jason Hanna and Gregory Lemos contributed to this report.


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