Andrew J. Whittaker/The Post and Courier/Pool/AP
Alex Murdock was sentenced to life in prison in March after being found guilty of the double murder of his wife and son.
For the first time, Alex Murdock confessed to the crimes.
Disgraced former South Carolina attorney convicted in March He killed his wife and sonHe pleaded guilty Thursday morning to nearly two dozen counts of fraud and money laundering in federal court in Charleston.
The petition relates to a project Murdock and a bank employee According to an indictment, he allegedly defrauded his personal injury clients out of more than $7 million in funds. Murdoch is accused of using the settlement funds for his “personal benefit, including using the proceeds to pay off personal debts, personal expenses and withdrawals.”
Murdock wept as he told the judge he pleaded guilty of his own free will. He said he was doing so because he was guilty of crimes, but his son, Buster, could see him taking responsibility for his actions, as well as helping victims heal, three attorneys said during the trial.
Murdoch pleaded guilty to 22 counts: one count of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud; one count of bank fraud; five counts of wire fraud; one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud; and 14 cases of money laundering.
Most of the charges carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, although four counts carry a maximum sentence of 30 years.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Kerkel accepted and signed off on the plea agreement between Murdock and federal prosecutors. Kerkel will later determine Marta’s federal sentence.
“Alex Murdock’s financial crimes were extensive, brazen and serious,” said U.S. Attorney Adair F. Burroughs said in a statement. “He stole blindly from his clients, his law firm and others who trusted him. The US Attorney’s Office, the FBI and SLED committed to investigating and prosecuting Murdoch’s financial crimes when they first came to light. Today marks the fulfillment of that promise.”
Disbarred attorney Alex Murdock arrives at a courthouse in Beaufort, South Carolina on Thursday, September 14.
If Murdoch cooperates and complies with the terms of the plea agreement, government prosecutors agree to recommend to the court that any federal sentence he receives for these charges “must be served concurrently with any state sentence imposed for the same conduct,” the deal says. The sentence recommendation is not included as written in the contract.
Notably, the deal required Murdoch — who He admitted under oath that he had previously lied to the police – To tell the truth.
“Defendant agrees to be completely truthful and open with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies by providing full, complete and truthful information about all criminal activity known to him,” the agreement states.
If he is found to be in breach of this part of the contract in any way, the contract will be cancelled.
Much of the deal focuses on working with the Murdoch government to provide restitution to victims and trace missing assets. The agreement states that Murdoch must pay restitution to the victims and is seeking forfeiture of a total of $9 million in assets. Also, if requested by the government, he must submit to a polygraph test and may be called to testify at other grand juries or future trials.
Attorney Justin Bamberg, who represents many of Murdoch’s victims of financial crimes, criticized the plea deal in a statement.
“Given the seriousness and ruthlessness of his crimes, Alex Murdock should not receive any incentive-based agreement from the government, whether federal or state, and we respectfully reject the federal government’s voluntary decision to offer him a concurrent sentence in exchange for a guilty plea and a ‘to cooperate’ agreement,” he said. said.
“We are confident that the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office will be determined to hold Murdock accountable and will provide no hindrance and no incentives to him; That ship left many years ago,” he added. “Murdock’s victims look forward to receiving the individual penalties he has earned against each of them under South Carolina law through his own criminal conduct.”
The only recent legal troubles for Murdoch, the scion of a prominent and powerful family of local attorneys and prosecutors in South Carolina’s Lowcountry, have been allegations of fraud.
Murdock was convicted in March His wife Maggie and son Paul are murdered In their sprawling estate in 2021, he was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole.
Days after his sentencing, Murdoch’s attorneys Initiated the appeals process. However, earlier this month, his defense team filed a court motion to suspend the appeal so they can request a new trial. The The motion included bombshell charges The Colleton County Clerk of Courts impaneled the jury.
The South Carolina Attorney General asked the South Carolina Division of Law Enforcement to investigate the claims.
Last week, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson asked the court to order Murdock’s defense team. Adjust their movement Due to several “procedural defects”. The prosecutor’s office did not directly deny the motion, but noted that the ongoing investigation has already “revealed significant factual conflicts” that undermine the credibility of Murdock’s claims.
Murdock’s attorney responded to the state’s request Thursday, accusing prosecutors of trying to delay the appellate suspension and prevent him from seeking a new trial. Defense attorneys argued that the “procedural defects” raised by prosecutors were not relevant to the filing and asked the court to “expeditiously grant” a new trial.
The South Carolina Court of Appeals has yet to issue a decision.
Additionally, the disbarred attorney is still embroiled in several state and federal lawsuits. 100 other charges.
Murdoch is set to go on trial in November on charges related to settlement funds stolen from the family of Gloria Satterfield, Murdoch’s late housekeeper.
They are the first of dozens of state charges he faces in connection with schemes to defraud millions. The financial crimes he is accused of in the case include embezzlement, computer crime, money laundering and tax evasion.