Murdaugh to plead guilty Thursday to committing financial fraud for 10 years

Blake Douglas/

Alex Murdaugh, disbarred lawyer and convicted killer, will plead guilty in federal court to financial crimes he committed over a span of 10 years, from 2011 to 2021, in a hearing in Charleston on Thursday before U.S. Judge Richard Gergel.

The 28-page indictment to which he is pleading guilty covers all of Murdaugh’s best-known alleged financial crimes, including many in which he allegedly stole from former clients. The charges also cover Murdaugh’s use of a phony bank account he used to launder stolen money.

The charges include his scheme to plunder the $4.3 million estate of Gloria Satterfield, the longtime Murdaugh family housekeeper who died in 2018 after a fall on the front steps at the family home in rural Colleton County.

Murdaugh’s co-conspirator in many of the crimes, ex-banker Russell Laffitte, is named throughout the federal indictment, which was issued last May 23. Laffitte was convicted in federal court of numerous bank and wire fraud crimes last November after a jury trial that lasted nearly three weeks in Charleston.

Laffitte was CEO of Palmetto State Bank, a Lowcountry bank headquartered in Hampton,that was central to many of Murdaugh’s fraud schemes.

The indictment also mentions, but not by name, Cory Fleming, Murdaugh’s accomplice and co-conspirator in the Satterfield theft scheme.

Fleming has pleaded guilty in both federal and state courts to the Satterfield-related crimes and been sentenced to stints in state and federal prison.

The crimes to which Murdaugh is pleading guilty include bank fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.

Murdaugh, 55, who is serving two consecutive life sentences in state prison for killing his wife and son, is expected to make a rare public appearance in federal court Thursday.

He will likely be accompanied by his lawyers Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin.

Federal prosecutors Emily Limehouse, Katie Stoughton and Winston Holliday are expected to be on hand.

Judge Gergel is expecting a large crowd and has set aside an overflow room for media and other people in attendance.

Sentencing will take place at a later, unspecified date.

Murdaugh also faces a host of financial crimes charges in state court. He is scheduled to stand trial or plead guilty to those charges on Nov. 27.