Criminal Justice

Ex-lawyer Alex Murdaugh, serving time for murder, pleads guilty to stealing from clients

  • Print

AP Alex Murdaugh March 2023

Disbarred South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh was sentenced in early March to life in prison after a conviction in a double-murder trial during his sentencing at the Colleton County Courthouse in Walterboro, South Carolina. He was found guilty on all counts. Photo by Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post and Courier via the Associated Press.

Disbarred South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh pleaded guilty Thursday to 22 federal charges for stealing millions of dollars from clients and the estate of his late housekeeper.

Murdaugh, 55, pleaded guilty to charges that included money laundering, wire fraud and bank fraud, according to a U.S. Department of Justice news release.

Publications with coverage include Law360, Courthouse News Service, the Associated Press, the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Murdaugh was convicted and sentenced in March for murdering his wife, Maggie, and their youngest son Paul. Prosecutors had alleged that Murdaugh killed his family members to divert attention from his financial crimes. He was sentenced to two consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole.

In a press conference after the financial-crimes plea, Assistant U.S. Attorney Emily Limehouse said Murdaugh had stolen more than $10.5 million from his clients, his law firm and others who trusted him, according to Law360. Murdaugh’s lawyer, however, had mentioned theft of $9.3 million.

Limehouse clarified that prosecutors have to do more research on the exact amount before the sentencing hearing.

Some of the counts to which Murdaugh pleaded guilty Thursday carry sentences of up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine. The plea deal also calls for Murdaugh to repay money that he stole, according to the AP. Prosecutors will ask for any sentence to run concurrently with prison time imposed by state courts.

Murdaugh has admitted stealing money but not the murders.

Murdaugh told U.S. District Judge Richard M. Gergel of the District of South Carolina that he is being treated for opioid addiction and has been sober 744 days. He said he wanted to take responsibility for the financial crimes, so “the people I’ve hurt can begin to heal.”

See also:

“Ex-lawyer Murdaugh, in prison for murder, is charged with stealing from clients”

“Alex Murdaugh and whether to testify in your own defense”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.