COLUMBIA, S.C. (NewsNation Now) — Prominent South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh was arrested Thursday for his connection with missing settlement funds in the wrongful death lawsuit involving his former housekeeper.
Agents with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement took Murdaugh into custody on two felony counts of obtaining property by false pretenses upon his release from a drug rehabilitation facility in Orlando.
The charges stem from a SLED investigation into misappropriated settlement funds in the death of Gloria Satterfield. Satterfield allegedly died in a slip and fall accident on Murdaugh’s property in 2018.
The Murdaugh family told Satterfield’s sons their mother tripped over the family dog and died weeks later from her lingering injuries. The death was never reported to the Hampton County coroner, who asked state police to investigate why she was not called to review what she would consider an accidental death.
Yet, Murdaugh managed to secure more than $4 million from his insurers, but he only told her sons about $500,000 and then never sent them any, the lawsuit said.
Attorneys for the Satterfield family released documents earlier this month which they say can prove Alex Murdaugh was the mastermind behind defrauding the rightful heirs of a multi-million dollar wrongful death settlement.
Murdaugh is being held at the Orange County jail in Florida to await extradition, investigators said. His lawyers promised at a bond hearing on different charges last month that Murdaugh would return to South Carolina without a fight if charged with additional crimes.
The deaths of Murdaugh’s son and wife at their Colleton County home in June remain unsolved. Murdaugh said he found Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and her son Paul, 22, shot to death after he returned home from visiting his father in the hospital, according to authorities.
State police have six investigations into Murdaugh, including the deaths and September charges against Murdaugh on insurance fraud and other counts for trying to arrange his own death so his surviving son could collect on a $10 million life insurance policy.
Murdaugh said his head was grazed by a bullet in the attempt. The man charged with firing at Murdaugh said the gun went off as he tried to prevent his friend from shooting himself.
The Thursday arrest is just another step in the long process for justice in all of the investigations, State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel said in a statement.
“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,” Keel said.