South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh arrested at Florida drug rehab center on charges of stealing insurance money in the death of a housekeeper

A prominent South Carolina lawyer has been charged with stealing insurance settlements intended for the sons of his late housekeeper, state police said Thursday. Alex murdaugh was arrested at a drug rehab center in Orlando, Florida, authorities said. His lawyers said he had spent the last six weeks at the facility since claiming to be shot in the head by a lonely road near his home.

The arrest on two counts of obtaining property under false pretenses involves Murdaugh’s housekeeper for decades, Gloria Satterfield, the state’s Law Enforcement Division said in a statement.

Murdaugh told Satterfield’s sons at his February 2018 funeral that he would get insurance settlements for his death and take care of them, according to a lawsuit filed by the sons.

Murdaugh managed to get over $ 4 million from his insurers, but he only told the sons about $ 500,000 and never sent them a dime, according to the lawsuit.

Mother and son killed
In this file photo from Thursday, September 16, 2021, Alex Murdaugh shows up in court for his bond hearing in Varnville, SC

Mic Smith / AP

The Murdaugh family told the sons that their mother tripped over the family dog ​​and died weeks later from her persistent 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 a death accidental.

Murdaugh is being held in Orange County Jail in Florida awaiting extradition, investigators said. His lawyers vowed in a bail hearing on various charges last month that Murdaugh would return to South Carolina without a fight if charged with additional crimes.

The deaths of Murdaugh’s wife and son at their Colleton County home in June remain unsolved. Murdaugh said he found Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and her son Paul, 22, shot dead after returning home after visiting his father in hospital, authorities said.

Murdaugh’s attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin released a statement Thursday confirming the new charges and said a bail hearing was scheduled for Friday.

“Alex intends to cooperate fully with this investigation, as he did with the investigation into the murder of his wife and son,” they said. “He deeply regrets that his actions have distracted attention from efforts to resolve their murders.”

State Police have conducted six investigations into Murdaugh, including the deaths and the September charges against Murdaugh on insurance fraud and other counts of attempting to arrange his own death so that his surviving son can collect a $ 10 million life insurance policy.

Murdaugh said his head was grazed by a bullet during the attempt. The man accused of shooting Murdaugh said the gun exploded as he tried to stop his friend from shooting himself.

Murdaugh’s lawyers have said he has struggled with a long-standing opioid addiction and wants to end his life. In a statement provided to CBS News last month, attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin said:

On September 4, it became clear that Alex believed that ending his own life was his only option. Today he knows that is not true. Over the past 20 years, many people have fueled her addiction to opioids. During this time, these people took advantage of her addiction and her ability to pay substantial sums for illegal drugs. One of these people took advantage of his mental illness and agreed to kill Alex by shooting him in the head. Fortunately, Alex was not killed by the gunshot wound.

Thursday’s arrest is just another step in the long process of justice across all inquiries, state law enforcement division chief Mark Keel said in a statement.

“As I said before, we are committed to following the facts wherever they take us and we will not stop until justice is served,” Keel said.

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