Alex Murdaugh’s former law firm is suing him to recover funds it alleges he stole from clients for his own personal use, according to a statement from the firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Elztroth, and Detrick released Wednesday.
The firm alleges Murdaugh “developed a systematic scheme in which he diverted funds owed to the firm and to clients to a fictitious entity” for many years.
Murdaugh, a once prominent South Carolina attorney, was shot in the head on a roadway September 4, but survived. The 53-year-old later admitted to authorities he conspired with 61-year-old Curtis Smith, a former client, to kill him as part of a fraud scheme so that his only surviving son could collect a $10 million life insurance payout.
Murdaugh has since been charged with insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud, and filing a false police report. He was released on bond and, according to his attorneys, remains in a drug rehab program after professing to a 20-year struggle with opioid addiction.
In June, Murdaugh reported to police that he discovered the bodies of his wife and son on their property in Islandton. They both had been shot to death. Authorities have not identified a motive or suspect in that case.
The law firm’s complaint, filed Wednesday in Colleton County Court in South Carolina, reads in part: “PMPED has determined that Alex Murdaugh was able to covertly steal these funds by disguising disbursements from settlements as payments to an annuity company, trust account or structured settlement for clients or as structured attorney’s fees that he had earned when in fact they were deposited into the fictious account at Bank of America.”
The complaint also claims Murdaugh “used firm assets in an unauthorized manner and without the consent or knowledge of his other shareholders to further his scheme to defraud.”
Jim Griffin, an attorney for Murdaugh, told CNN he has not seen the complaint.
“This is a very sad development,” Griffin wrote in an email. “Alex holds every member of the Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, Detrick law firm in very high esteem. He has pledged his full cooperation to the firm.”
The firm’s lawsuit is seeking damages “for the costs of this action” and discovery to find out where the alleged stolen money went.
Alex Murdaugh resigned from PMPED in September at the firm’s request, after what it said was a misappropriation of funds. In a statement released last month, PMPED previously claimed Murdaugh “lied and stole from us.”
“We were shocked and dismayed to learn that Alex violated our principles and code of ethics. He lied and he stole from us,” Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick said in a statement on its website.
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