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Grand jury returns 22-count indictment against Alex Murdaugh

Convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh is facing 22 new charges as the Justice Department accused him of taking part in multiple schemes to steal millions of dollars.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Former South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh was indicted by a federal grand jury on nearly two dozen new financial charges. 

The U.S. Department of Justice announced the new charges Wednesday. Charges Murdaugh is facing include conspiracy to commit write fraud and bank fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. He is already awaiting trial on over 100 other criminal charges, including insurance fraud for trying to arrange his own death. Previous indictments allege that Murdaugh stole about $9 million from his law firm, settlement money for clients and other places from 2011 to 2021. 

Murdaugh was convicted in March of murdering his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, at the family's Moselle hunting estate in rural South Carolina in 2020. He was sentenced to life in prison for the crimes. 

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The Justice Department alleges Murdaugh was part of three schemes to commit fraud while working as a personal injury attorney in Hampton, South Carolina. The allegations go as far back as September 2005. 

Court documents allege that Murdaugh and his personal banker, Russell Laffitte, conspired to commit fraud and bank fraud from July 2011 through October 2021. The indictment alleges that Murdaugh asked Laffitte to serve as a personal representative for numerous personal injury clients. Laffitte collected over $350,000 in fees, records show. 

Laffitte was convicted on six federal charges for his role in the scheme and awaits sentencing. 

Another alleged scheme by Murdaugh included defrauding the family of a housekeeper who died after falling at his home in February 2018. Murdaugh's insurance companies settled the estate's claim for $505,000 and $3.8 million, according to the indictment, which alleges that Murdaugh and a personal injury attorney conspired to siphon settlement funds disguised as "prosecution expenses" for their own personal enrichment.

Murdaugh allegedly deposited checks totaling over $3.4 million into an account for a fake business. 

Murdaugh is accused of creating the fake account in September 2015. He is the only authorized signer for the company, which was named "Forge." Investigators allege that from in or around May 2017 through July 2021, Murdaugh funneled stolen personal injury settlements through the "Forge" account. He was charged with 14 counts of money laundering for using the transactions to conceal the proceeds of his fraud. 

In total, Murdaugh was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, two counts of wire fraud, three counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and 14 counts of money laundering. 

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