COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) – Alex Murdagh, the disgraced attorney accused of killing his wife and son, was indicted Friday by a South Carolina grand jury on nine counts of tax evasion, helping to murder charges he faced after their deaths more than a year ago.
Prosecutors say Murdaugh, 54, earned about $14 million as a lawyer over nine years, but stole nearly $7 million from his law firm during that same time. too.
Using tax returns from 2011 to 2019, a grand jury indictment shed light on a man who made millions from the law firm his family founded a century ago that, but he also had a big change in his income and stole half of his income. by Peters, Murdagh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick.
The latest charges bring the total number of charges against the disgraced lawyer to more than 100.
Murdaugh is set to go on trial in late January on manslaughter charges in the June 2021 shooting deaths of his wife Maggie and son Paul at the family’s Colleton County home. . Prosecutors said they would face life in prison if convicted.
Murdaugh’s lawyers strongly deny that he had any role in the murder, but they have admitted his role in extorting money from clients.
Murdaugh was charged Friday with nine counts of willfully attempting to evade or evade taxes. Prosecutors say he evaded nearly $487,000 in state taxes. He faces up to five years in prison on each conviction.
Most of Murdaugh’s other charges relate to embezzling $8.8 million in settlements from clients who were seriously injured, or the families of people who died in or during accidents. -work, as well as drug and money laundering charges, according to the indictment. It has gone down in almost twenty waves since September 2021.
Friday’s indictment shows Murdaugh underreported nearly $14 million in corporate income on his tax returns over a nine-year period, while prosecutors say he stole nearly 7 million dollars to his bank account and he did not pay taxes on the extortion. profit.
In his best year, Murdaugh reported earning $5.3 million in 2013 after earning $2.4 million the previous year. But later tax returns showed that his legal income had dried up. Murdaugh said he earned just $219,000 in 2017 and just $1.6 million over the next two years, according to the indictment.
On the undisclosed side of the ledger, Murdaugh stole nearly $3.8 million in 2019, a huge increase over the years when he took hundreds of thousands of dollars from his company, according to the indictment. .
At that time, Murdaugh managed to obtain a $3.5 million insurance settlement for longtime housekeeper Gloria Satterfield, who died in 2019 in a fall at the family home. The settlement was intended for Satterfield’s children, but they said they had never seen a single one before their arrest.
Another victim involved an injured state trooper, and Murdaugh allegedly used a fake bank account to divert the money to himself, according to the previous indictment.
Prosecutors said in court last week that swirling financial problems led Murdaugh to shoot and kill his wife and son because he feared his plot would be discovered and believed sympathizing with their deaths will buy them more time to cover their tracks.
But they did not provide direct financial compensation to Murdaugh for their deaths, and Murdaugh’s attorney said he was a good lawyer who knew the violent deaths of his wife and children would prompt an investigation. more in his life.
Murdaugh and his family were the biggest players in the legal scene in little Hampton County. His grandfather, great-grandfather, and father were all elected prosecutors, and the law firm founded by his family was famous for solving legal problems in civil cases.
Photo- Alex Murdagh, center, speaks with his defense attorney Dick Harpootlian after his hearing in Colleton County Monday, Aug. 29, 2022. Months after Alex Murdaugh was charged, a disbarred attorney accused of murdering his wife and son in their South Carolina home. prosecutors have released few details about the evidence they believe links him to the murder. (Grace Beahm Alford/The Post And Courier via AP, File)
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