Orlando, FL – Prominent South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh was arrested at a drug rehab facility in Orlando on Thursday for stealing an insurance settlement that was meant for the sons of his late housekeeper.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) said Murdaugh had been charged with two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses in connection with the insurance settlement meant for the heirs of Gloria Satterfield, CNN reported.
A civil lawsuit filed by Satterfield’s sons said that Murdaugh told them at their mother’s 2018 funeral that he would help them secure a settlement for her death from his insurance company, the Associated Press reported.
The sons had been told that their mother, the longtime housekeeper to the prominent Murdaugh family, had tripped over the family dog and died weeks later from injuries that resulted from the fall.
The lawsuit claimed that Murdaugh and an attorney friend who offered to represent Satterfield’s family secured a $4 million settlement for the family, but told the sons that he had gotten them only $500,000, the Associated Press reported.
Satterfield’s sons’ complaint said that neither of them ever received a dime of the settlement money.
SLED is also investigating the circumstances that surrounded Satterfield’s death, the Associated Press reported.
Among other things, investigators are looking into why Satterfield’s death wasn’t reported to the local coroner.
Murdaugh was arrested at an Orlando drug rehab facility and booked into the Orange County jail where he will await extradition to South Carolina, the Associated Press reported.
Murdaugh put himself in rehab in September after an embarrassing incident on Sept. 4 during which he called 911 and claimed to have been shot in the head by a man in a blue pickup truck while on the side of the road in his vehicle.
Two days later, Alex was released from the hospital and announced he was going into drug rehab and had resigned from his family’s legacy law firm, Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick (PMPED), FOX News reported.
It turned out that Alex had been confronted by his law partners a day earlier over what sources have said was millions of dollars in missing money, according to The State.
On Sept. 8, the South Carolina Supreme Court suspended Alex’s law license effective immediately, WJCL reported.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) arrested 61-year-old Curtis Edward Smith in connection with the shooting of Alex Murdaugh, WJCL reported.
Smith’s charges included assisted suicide, assault and battery of a high aggravated nature, pointing and presenting a firearm, insurance fraud, and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, according to WSAV.
Authorities said that Alex had hired Smith to kill him so that his surviving son, Buster, could collect a $10 million life insurance policy.
Officials said that Alex had admitted to the scheme, WJCL reported.
On Sept. 16, Murdaugh was charged with conspiracy to commit insurance fraud in connection with the incident.
Attorneys for Alex said that he had been battling an opioid addiction for more than 20 years and the man who shot him was one of his drug dealers who had taken advantage of his mental state in the months that followed the murders of his wife and youngest son.
Murdaugh’s wife, 52-year-old Maggie Murdaugh, and his youngest son, 22-year-old Paul Murdaugh, were gunned down outside the dog kennels at the family’s hunting lodge in Islandton on June 7.
At the time of his death, Paul Murdaugh was charged with multiple felonies in connection with the death of 19-year-old Mallory Beach, who was killed in a 2019 boat crash while he was allegedly driving under the influence.
Both Alex and Buster Murdaugh are named in a lawsuit by Beach’s family that alleges they were complicit in allowing Paul Murdaugh to consume alcohol underage the night the girl was killed.
SLED announced in late June that during the course of the Murdaugh murder investigation, investigators had found information related to the unsolved 2015 murder of 19-year-old Stephen Smith in Hampton County, WJCL reported.
The agency has not released any details related to that investigation.
Late on Sept. 15, SLED announced it was also opening an investigation into the Satterfield’s death at the request of the Hampton County Coroner’s Office and based on other information found while investigating Murdaugh, WCBD reported.