South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh charged in case of dead housekeeper's missing settlement money

Murdaugh, whose legal problems continue to mount, was arrested Thursday morning

Updated: October 14, 2021 - 4:33pm

Troubled South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh is facing a new slate of criminal charges.

The 53-year-old lawyer has been criminally charged in connection with misappropriating millions of dollars in settlement funds in the death of his former housekeeper. Murdaugh was taken into custody Thursday morning after being released from his drug treatment facility in Orlando, Florida, charged with two counts of obtaining property by false pretenses.

"Today is merely one more step in a long process for justice for the many victims in these investigations," said South Caroline Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel. 

The charges are the latest round of chaos for Murdaugh, once the heir to a prominent legal dynasty in his home state.

In the last month, Murdaugh has been ousted from his law firm following accusations that he funneled millions into a fake bank account and has been identified as a person of interest in the mysterious murders of his wife and son.

He also admitted that he has struggled with a decades-long addiction to opioids, for which he entered treatment several weeks ago. Murdaugh also staged his own murder in an attempt to cash out on a $10 million life insurance policy that would have gone to his remaining son.

The new charges stem from the claim that Murdaugh stole millions of dollars from ex-housekeeper Gloria Sattterfield's wrongful death settlement, which was meant to benefit her sons.

The suit again Murdaugh, which was filed on behalf of Satterfield's sons, Tony Satterfield and Brian Harriot, alleged that Gloria's estate was meant to receive $4.3 million as part of a settlement from Murdaugh's insurance company. But neither son has yet to receive any of that 2019 court-approved payout. 

The South Caroline Law Enforcement Division (SLED) has also announced that it is investigating Satterfield's death, which was initially classed as a a "trip and fall accident."

The Hampton County Coroner, however, said there were "inconsistencies" surrounding the death, including no autopsy ever being performed on the victim.