A new South Carolina indictment made public on Wednesday for the first time names an accused co-conspirator in disgraced attorney Alex Murdaugh’s alleged complicated web of financial crimes.
Cory Fleming, a suspended lawyer and Murdaugh’s former college roommate and close friend, is charged with 18 new counts accusing him of conspiring with Murdaugh to defraud his former clients – the sons of Murdaugh’s long time housekeeper and nanny Gloria Satterfield – out of $3.6 million in settlement funds following their mother’s fatal alleged trip-and-fall accident.
The superseding indictment also charges 53-year-old Murdaugh with four new charges.
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The state grand jury charges Murdaugh and Fleming together with one count of criminal conspiracy “for conspiring to surreptitiously give Murdaugh a share of Fleming’s fee from the multi-million-dollar settlement of civil claims against Murdaugh,” South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a statement.
As alleged in the 43-page indictment dated March 10, Fleming not only conspired to defraud the victims out of $3.4 million in wrongful death settlement money from multiple insurance companies delivered to Murdaugh, but Fleming wrongfully appropriated or retained an additional $140,000 payout himself.
This is the fourth time Murdaugh has been indicted so far since the unraveling of the powerful Low Country legal family first began with the still-unsolved double homicide of his wife, Maggie Murdaugh, and their 22-year-old son, Paul Murdaugh, on the family’s “Moselle” estate last June.
In addition to Satterfield’s sons, Murdaugh’s higher-profile victims include a highway patrolman hurt in the line of duty and Hakeem Pinckney, a deaf quadriplegic man, both of whom Murdaugh represented as a personal injury attorney at a near century-old law firm founded by his great-grandfather.
Before Labor Day weekend, the firm confronted Murdaugh for allegedly stealing legal fees. Murdaugh, in an alleged opioid-fueled scheme, hired a hitman to kill him so his surviving son, Buster Murdaugh, could collect a $10 million life insurance policy. But he survived the alleged botched roadside shooting.
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The state Supreme Court suspended Murdaugh’s law license on Sept. 8 and Fleming’s on Oct. 8.
Lawyers for Satterfield’s sons have alleged that they did not see any of the money or even know about the multimillion-dollar settlement obtained over their mother’s death until media reported it last fall.
Satterfield died in February 2018 at the hospital having never regained consciousness weeks after Murdaugh said she suffered a head injury after tripping and falling on steps at the family’s estate. He allegedly told her boys to sue him for a civil payout and introduced them to Fleming to represent them.
The 71 counts against Murdaugh include charges of breach of trust with fraudulent intent, obtaining property by false pretenses, money laundering, computer crimes, and forgery.
Fox News Digital previously confirmed that a judiciary complaint was filed earlier this month against Beaufort County Judge Carmen Mullen alleging she helped keep the multi-million-dollar settlement finalized in May 2019 in connection to Satterfield’s death out of public record amid already spiraling bad publicity over the fatal boat crash that killed 19-year-old Mallory Beach.
The complaint came as a result of a deposition from Chad Westendorf, an executive at Palmetto State Bank, who acted as the financial representative of Satterfield’s estate. Though Westendorf has not been charged with any wrongdoing, Fox News Digital reported in January that Palmetto State Bank fired their CEO, Russell Laffitte, amid allegations he helped Murdaugh defraud Pinckney and his family members.
At the time of his death, Paul Murdaugh was still facing pending boating under the influence charges for allegedly drunkenly steering his father’s boat into a bridge near Parris Island in February 2019. Beach was thrown from the boat and her body wasn’t found until a week later by fishermen five miles away.
Murdaugh, currently held at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center, was previously indicted in November 2021, December 2021, and January 2022. Through 15 indictments containing 75 charges, the state grand jury accuses Murdaugh in schemes to defraud victims of a total amount of nearly $8.5 million.