COLUMBIA, SC (AP) – A prominent South Carolina lawyer has been charged with stealing insurance settlements intended for the sons of his late housekeeper, state police said Thursday.
Alex Murdaugh was arrested at a drug rehab center in Orlando, Florida, where his lawyers said he had spent the past six weeks since claiming to be shot in the head by a lonely road near his home, authorities said.
The arrest of two counts of obtaining property under false pretenses involves Murdaugh’s housekeeper for decades, Gloria Satterfield, the state’s Law Enforcement Division said in a statement .
Murdaugh told Satterfield’s sons at his funeral in February 2018 that he would get insurance settlements for his death and take care of them, according to a lawsuit filed by the sons.
Murdaugh managed to get over $ 4 million from his insurers, but he only told the sons about $ 500,000 and never sent them a dime, according to the lawsuit.
The Murdaugh family told the sons their mother tripped over the family dog and died weeks later from her lingering injuries. The death was never reported to the Hampton County Coroner, who asked state police to investigate why she had not been called to review what she would consider a death accidental.
Murdaugh is being held in Orange County Jail in Florida pending his extradition, investigators said. His lawyers vowed in a bail hearing on various charges last month that Murdaugh would return to South Carolina without a fight if charged with additional crimes.
The deaths of Murdaugh’s son and wife at their Colleton County home in June remain unsolved. Murdaugh said he found Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and her son Paul, 22, shot dead after returning home after visiting his father in hospital, authorities said.
State Police have conducted six investigations into Murdaugh, including the deaths and September charges against Murdaugh on insurance fraud and other counts of attempting to arrange his own death so that his surviving son can collect a $ 10 million life insurance policy.
Murdaugh said his head was grazed by a bullet during the attempt. The man accused of shooting Murdaugh said the gun exploded as he tried to stop his friend from shooting himself.
Thursday’s arrest is just another step in the long process of justice across all inquiries, state law enforcement division chief Mark Keel said in a statement.
“As I said before, we are committed to following the facts wherever they take us and we will not stop until justice is served,” Keel said.
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