COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – A Grand Jury on Thursday filed superseding indictments against the accused coconspirator of disgraced former Hampton County attorney Alex Murdaugh, detailing a system of stealing money from victims that spanned at least two decades.
Russell Laffitte was the director of Palmetto State Bank and has previously been indicted with Murdaugh for allegedly helping facilitate the siphoning of funds from Murdaugh’s clients.
The latest indictment names only Laffitte and details the ways in which investigators believe he used his position and the bank, and as the conservator for the victims, to misdirect funds from the clients of a former personal injury attorney back to that attorney’s bank account.
According to the indictment, Laffitte “extended 14 unsecured loans to the Bank Customer, totaling $990,000” from one of the conservatorship accounts. The funds were allegedly transferred to the Bank Customer’s personal account and each time the transfers were made, “the Bank Customer was overdrawn on his personal checking account, often by tens of thousands of dollars.”
When it came time to pay back the money owed to that specific conservatorship account, Laffitte “extended a $500,000 line of credit to the Bank Customer, for purposes of ‘farming.'” From that line of credit, Laffitte issued a cashier’s check for the exact amount of money owed to the account.
The indictment also lists disbursements made, many at the direction of the Bank Customer, to the Bank Customer’s father, the Bank Customer’s wife, and towards principal and interest payments on the Bank Customer’s boat.
As recently as July 15, 2021, Laffitte facilitated “a $750,000 commercial loan to the Bank Customer for beach house renovations and expenses, with preferential lending terms, including insufficient collateral.” The indictment states that proceeds from that loan “were used for other purposes, namely to pay Attorney 1 and to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in overdraft charges on the Bank Customer’s personal account.”
A hearing is set for Laffitte August 24.