COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – A State Grand Jury on Wednesday issued three superseding indictments against disgraced Hampton County attorney Alex Murdaugh and his associates.
Those indicted with Murdaugh include his longtime friend and fellow lawyer, Corey Fleming, and Russll Laffitte, a former banker at Palmetto State Bank.
The superseding indictments are as follows:
The first superseding indictment in Hampton County is connected to an alleged scheme between Murdaugh and Laffittee to misappropriate $350,245.08 in settlement funds from Natarsha Thomas, the victim of a vehicle collision whom Murdaugh was representing. Murdaugh diverted those settlement funds to Palmetto State Bank, and converted the money for personal use. Laffitte was the Vice President of Palmetto State Bank and also the conservator for Thomas. The indictment states that Laffitte “did assist in causing [bank computer] systems to be accessed to surrepitiously misappropriate” the funds. Murdaugh and Laffitte are both being charged with Criminal Conspiracy. Laffitte is being charged individually for Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent, Value More than $10,000 (2 counts); and Computer Crime, Value More than $10,000.
The second superseding indictment in Hampton County accuses Murdaugh of using settlement funds owed to the family of Hakeen Pinckney — who Murdaugh represented after Pinckney was killed in a car crash — for personal use. Specifically, the indictment states that Murdaugh used the funds “in part to purchase a money order
payable to a family member and to other client conservatorship accounts from which
Murdaugh previously borrowed money, in part to pay down a personal business loan, and in part to obtain cash for himself and a different family member.” Laffitte is once again accused of helping Murdaugh divert the funds. Murdaugh and Laffitte are charged with one count of Criminal Conspiracy. The indictment further charges Laffitte individually for Computer Crime, Value More than $10,000, and Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent, Value More than $10,000, in connection with the alleged scheme.
The second superseding indictment additionally charges Murdaugh and Fleming together with one count of Criminal Conspiracy. The indictment states Murdaugh convinced Pinckney’s family to retain Fleming. Years after Pinckney’s family thought the case was closed, the indictment alleges that “Fleming without advising Pamela Pinckney caused a settlement disbursement check to be issued from his firm’s trust account for $89,133.44, not to Pamela Pinckney – but instead to Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, and Detrick, P.A. (PMPED) client trust account.”
The indictment claims that Fleming also diverted funds for his personal use. $6,490 was allegedly used to “pay debt owed to a private plane company to charter a flight for Fleming, Murdaugh, and another attorney to travel to the 2021 College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska.” The indictment further charges Fleming individually for Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent, Value More than $10,000; Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent, Value More than $2,000, but less than $10,000; Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent, Value Less than $2,000; and Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent, Value More than $2,000, but less than $10,000.
The third superseding indictment in Allendale County is connected to a scheme in which Murdaugh represented Arthur Badger, whose wife was killed in a car crash. Laffitte served as the personal representative for the estate. The indictment alleges that Laffitte diverted $1,172,945.76 in settlement funds to Murdaugh so Murdaugh could repay various personal debts. Murdaugh and Laffitte are charged together wtih one count of Criminal Conspiracy. Laffitte is further charged as an aider an dabettor to Murdaugh in 12 counts of Breach of Trust with Fraudulent Intent, Value More than $10,000.
The Grand Jury has issued 79 charges total against Murdaugh and indicted him for schemes to defraud victims of $8,492,888.31.
Editor’s note: This story is breaking and will be updated.
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Author: Chase Laudenslager