Attorney Alex Murdaugh charged with misappropriating housekeeper's funds

Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Prominent South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh was arrested and charged Thursday with misappropriating settlement funds meant for the heirs of his dead former housekeeper.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said Murdaugh was arrested upon his release from a drug rehabilitation facility in Orlando, Fla., and charged with two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses in connection with the death of Gloria Satterfield.


Satterfield, Murdaugh's family housekeeper, died three years ago in what was initially thought to be an accidental fall, but authorities have now opened a criminal investigation into the matter. The housekeeper's heirs say they have not received any of the proceeds of a $4.3 million settlement agreed to by her former employer.

Murdaugh's arrest was his second in a month. On Sept. 16, the attorney turned himself over to authorities in connection with a bizarre scheme to arrange his own murder so his son could collect on a $10 million insurance policy.

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Authorities also consider him a "person of interest" in the deaths of his wife, Margaret, and son, Paul, one of his lawyers told NBC News, while insisting that his client was not involved.

"Today is merely one more step in a long process for justice for the many victims in these investigations," South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel said in a statement. "I want to commend the hard work and dedication that our agents have shown over the last four months. They will continue to work tirelessly on behalf of those who were victimized by Alex Murdaugh and others.

'As I have said previously, we are committed to following the facts wherever they may lead us and we will not stop until justice is served."

The agency said it opened an investigation into Satterfield's death based on a request from Hampton County Coroner Angela Topper as well on information it gathered "during the course of our other ongoing investigations involving Alex Murdaugh."

Satterfield supposedly died from a fall but an autopsy was never completed. Topper requested assistance in the wrongful death settlement case between Murdaugh and Satterfield's children, saying said Satterfield's injuries appear to be inconsistent with injuries sustained in a trip and fall accident.


In the "suicide-for-hire" plot, police accuse Murdaugh of hiring Curtis Edward Smith, 61, to kill him so that his surviving son could collect on a $10 million insurance policy.

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Murdaugh suffered superficial wounds on Sept. 4 when he was shot in the head, while Smith faces charges of assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.

Dick Harpootlian, one of Murdaugh's attorneys, said his client had been suffering from opioid addiction, became depressed and wanted to kill himself but believed his insurance policy would not pay out if he took his own life.

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