Alex Murdaugh indicted on 22 new financial fraud charges for stealing money from dead housekeeper’s family
Convicted killer Alex Murdaugh has been indicted on a slew of new charges for stealing money from the family of his dead housekeeper.
The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office announced on Wednesday that a federal grand jury has returned a 22-count indictment against the 54-year-old disgraced legal dynasty heir, charging him with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering.
Prosecutors allege that Murdaugh orchestrated a financial fraud scheme which included stealing almost $3.5m from the estate of Gloria Satterfield and its insurance carriers.
Satterfield was the Murdaugh’s longtime housekeeper who died in a mysterious “trip and fall” accident at the prominent family’s 1,700-acre Moselle estate in South Carolina in 2018 – the same property where Murdaugh shot dead his wife Maggie and adult son Paul three years later.
Following her death, Murdaugh claimed he would bring a wrongful death suit against himself on behalf of Satterfield’s sons.
In reality, Murdaugh allegedly stole the settlement money for himself and the housekeeper’s sons didn’t get a dime.
It was part of a decade-long multi-million-dollar fraud scheme where he stole millions from his law firm and legal clients – a scheme he confessed to orchestrating when he took the stand at his murder trial.
The convicted killer was already awaiting trial on more than 100 financial crimes charges which included charges of stealing from Satterfield’s family.
But, now he has been hit with even more charges.
“Trust in our legal system begins with trust in its lawyers,” said US Attorney Adair Boroughs in a press release announcing the charges.
“South Carolinians turn to lawyers when they are at their most vulnerable, and in our state, those who abuse the public’s trust and enrich themselves by fraud, theft, and self-dealing will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
Satterfield, who worked for the family for more than 20 years, was found at the bottom of the steps leading into the family’s home.
She never resumed consciousness and died from her injuries three weeks later on 26 February.
At the time, Murdaugh claimed that she had tripped over the family’s dogs and hit her head, and her death was regarded as an accidental fall.
However, her death certificate cited her manner of death as “natural” and no autopsy was ever carried out.
Questions have been swirling around Satterfield’s death for the past few years as the string of deaths, stolen money and corruption surrounding Murdaugh came to light.
In September 2021, an investigation was reopened into her death and investigators said they planned to exhume her body.
This came just days after Murdaugh’s financial fraud scheme came to light and three months after the double murder of his wife Maggie and son Paul – who were shot to death on the same property where Satterfield had her fatal “fall”.
This March, Murdaugh was found guilty of the 7 June 2021 murders and was sentenced to life in prison.
At his high-profile trial, jurors heard how he was motivated to kill his family in a bid to distract from his financial crimes which were on the brink of exposure.
Satterfield’s death isn’t the only mystery deaths tied to the South Carolina legal dynasty.
A homicide investigation has also been opened into the 2015 death of Stephen Smith, who was found dead in the middle of a road in Hampton County.
The openly gay 19-year-old had suffered blunt force trauma to the head and his death was officially ruled a hit-and-run. But Smith’s family have long doubted this version of events, with the Murdaugh name cropping up in several police tips and community rumours.
At the time of his murder, Paul was also awaiting trial for the boat crash death of Mallory Beach.