COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Alex Murdaugh was arrested Thursday over missing settlement funds in the wrongful death lawsuit involving a former housekeeper.
Murdaugh was arrested by agents with the State Law Enforcement Division and Florida Department of Law Enforcement for two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses at the time of his release from a drug rehabilitation facility in Orlando, Florida.
According to Tommy Crosby, a spokesman SLED, the charges stem from the agency’s investigation into misappropriated settlement funds in the death of Gloria Satterfield.
Satterfield allegedly died in a slip and fall accident on the Murdaugh’s property in 2018.
Attorneys for the Satterfield family released documents earlier this month which they say prove Alex Murdaugh was the mastermind behind defrauding the rightful heirs of a multi-million dollar wrongful death settlement.
Murdaugh will be extradited back to South Carolina to face charges.
SLED announced in mid-September they opened a criminal investigation into Satterfield’s death “based upon a request from the Hampton County Coroner… as well as information gathered during the course of [the] other investigations involving Alex Murdaugh.”
“Today is merely one more step in a long process for justice for the many victims in these investigations. I want to commend the hard work and dedication that our agents have shown over the last four months, said SLED Chief Mark Keel. They will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of those who were victimized by Alex Murdaugh and others. As I have said previously, we are committed to following the facts wherever they may lead us and we will not stop until justice is served.”
Attorney Eric Bland shared a statement from the Satterfield and Harriott families in response to Murdaugh’s arrest which reads:
Today is a bittersweet day for the Satterfield and Harriott Families. The families are extremely grateful to law enforcement, SLED and the South Carolina Attorney General’s office for its investigation and today’s criminal charges against Alex Murdaugh for two Felony Class E counts of obtaining money by false pretenses. The families and their attorneys are proud of how our justice system has conducted itself since the family had the courage to file its initial lawsuit on September 15, 2021 detailing the theft of the money recovered for the heirs of Gloria Satterfield in connection with her death.”
It goes on to say, “So much has been learned and proven by documentary evidence since the filing of the lawsuit which includes the total amount that was either misappropriated and/or not earned from the 4.3 million recovered, including all those involved. Avarice and betrayal of trust are at the heart of this matter. Lawsuits and claims are not vehicles for lawyers, defendants and/or friends to enrich themselves at the expense of their clients. These belong to the clients and the clients only. This is the sacred trust that lawyers and fiduciaries owe their clients. 100% fidelity and never putting their interests over the clients. Since early September the families are dealing with the betrayal of trust and that their loved one’s death was used as a vehicle to enrich others over the clients. Nonetheless, the families and lawyers would like to thank the public for the continued support and assistance it has given to solve these ugly crimes. It is not over. A very good start to holding everyone accountable who either participated knowingly or breached their duties.. The bottom line is no one is above the law.”
Murdaugh’s attorneys, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, also released a statement regarding their client’s arrest: “We have not seen the warrants but have been informed that he is charged with two counts of obtaining goods under false pretenses relating to the settlement proceeds from the Estate of Gloria Satterfield. Alex intends to fully cooperate with this investigation, as he has with the investigation into the murder of his wife and son. He deeply regrets that his actions have distracted from the efforts to solve their murders.”
Murdaugh is expected to be taken by SLED to Beaufort County where he will appear before a magistrate for a bond hearing Friday.
This case will be prosecuted by the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office.