Alex Murdaugh is potentially facing life behind bars after a jury unanimously convicted him of murdering his wife and son on Thursday, but the disgraced South Carolina legal scion could face an additional 700 years in prison for his financial crimes.
Murdaugh, 52, is accused of at least 99 financial crimes in 19 different indictments. Worse, he admitted to some of his crimes when he testified under oath during his murder trial.
Murdaugh was convicted of killing his wife Maggie, 52, and son Paul, 22 on June 7, 2021, after the pair were found shot to death near the dog kennels at their hunting estate. He has vehemently denied committing the murders.
As he argued his innocence, Murduagh admitted to stealing from more than a dozen clients and his law firm.
As prosecutors grilled him on the stand about specific financial crimes from cases he handled over a decade ago, Murdaugh grew frustrated.
“You have charged me with murdering my wife and my son, and I have sat here for these weeks listening to this financial stuff that I did wrong, that I’m embarrassed by. I’m happy to talk with you about that as much as you would like to talk about. I’m required to talk about it as much as you want to talk about it. But the fact is I cannot specifically remember sitting down for the details you’re asking for.
“But what I can tell you is that in all of these financial situations, I stole money that was not my money, I misled people I shouldn’t have misled, and I did wrong. I can tell you that.”
The disbarred lawyers’ financial crimes will be dealt with in later proceedings.
He will be sentenced for the double homicide at a later date, Judge Clifton Newman said on Thursday. He faces 30 years to life in prison.
During his murder trial, prosecutors argued that Murdaugh killed his wife and son to distract from the crimes, which his defense claimed was ludicrous.
At the time Murdaugh killed his wife and son, the family was facing a lawsuit from the family of 19-year-old Mallory Beach, who died after Paul drunkenly crashed a boat into a bridge in December 2019.
Prosecutors said that a pre-trial hearing in the boat crash case, which had been scheduled to take place just three days after the murders, would have exposed Murdaugh’s criminal financial dealings — and was part of the motive that allegedly led Murdaugh to kill his wife and son.
Murdaugh claimed that a vigilante, enraged after reading about the deadly boat crash online, was responsible for killing his son Paul. He didn’t respond when pressed about why Maggie would have been targeted.
The South Carolina Attorney General’s office said Mudaugh stole almost $7 million from the bank account of his law firm, then called Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick.
He’s additionally accused of evading a little less than half a million dollars in taxes.
Many of the charges against Murdaugh concern stealing $8.8 million in settlement money from injured clients and families.
The chief financial officer of Murdaugh’s former law firm testified that she confronted him about $792,000 in missing client settlement money hours before he killed Maggie and Paul.
He also admitted to hiring his former drug dealer to fatally shoot him in September 2021, hoping to secure his remaining son Buster a $10 million life insurance payout. However, the bullet only grazed the former attorney’s head.
Murdaugh also admitted to plotting to sue himself with the family of his longtime housekeeper who died under mysterious circumstances in 2018 – then stiffed them when he got a $4.3 million insurance payout, an arrest warrant from 2021 shows.
Tthe money was recovered by the housekeeper’s family in 2021.
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