RICHLAND, S.C. (WCBD) – The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) on Saturday announced that former lawyer Alex Murdaugh has been booked into the Richland County Detention Center as he awaits a bond hearing on federal charges connected to his alleged embezzling of death settlement funds from the family of his late housekeeper.
Murdaugh is facing two charges of obtaining property by false pretenses after reportedly funneling millions of dollars paid by his own insurance companies for a death settlement into a shell account.
The money was meant for the family of Gloria Satterfield, who served as the Murdaughs housekeeper for over 20 years before purportedly tripping and falling at the Murdaugh family home in 2018. SLED documents state that she hit her head during the fall, then “later had a stroke, went into cardiac arrest, and died.”
Murdaugh directed Satterfield’s sons to sue him for insurance money, and suggested they hire Murdaugh’s longtime friend Cory Fleming to represent them. Neither Murdaugh nor Fleming disclosed their relationship. They also recruited Chad Westendorf of Palmetto State Bank to act as the representative of the estate.
The men negotiated a payout of over $4 million from Murdaugh’s insurance companies, over $2 million of which was meant for Satterfied’s sons. Satterfield’s sons say that they were not made aware of the payout and never received any of the money.
Instead, records show that Fleming wrote checks worth millions of dollars to ‘Forge,’ which was a shell account set up by Murdaugh and used to divert funds that he was also stealing from his own law firm.
Murdaugh is expected to appear in a Richland County court on Tuesday for a bond hearing. He is facing separate charges in multiple other cases, including the 2019 death of Mallory Beach, who died when a boat allegedly being driving by a drunk Paul Murdaugh crashed; the siphoning of millions of dollars from his own former law firm; and a botched suicide plot he orchestrated so that his surviving son could benefit from a life insurance policy.
Murdaugh is also connected to other death investigations, including Stephen Smith who died in 2015 after allegedly being hit by a car; and Murdaugh’s wife and son, Margaret and Paul, who were shot to death at their family home in June.