The Hampton County law firm founded by his great-grandfather has filed a complaint against former lawyer Richard Alexander Murdaugh.
On Wednesday, October 6, the Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick, Pennsylvania law firm filed a civil lawsuit in Colleton County Court of Common Pleas against Murdaugh, including great-grandfather Randolph Murdaugh founded the firm in 1910.
According to a statement released the same day as the filing, PMPED said it had “sued his former partner, Alex Murdaugh, in state court to recover the money he stole from the firm and the firm’s clients.” .
The PMPED statement and its court record allege “that Murdaugh, a former partner, developed a systematic scheme in which he embezzled funds owed to the firm and clients to a fictitious entity. The record indicates that for several years Murdaugh submitted false documents. to the business and customers who allowed it to transfer stolen funds to fraudulent bank accounts. “
The PMPED statement added, “Murdaugh has on occasion used company assets in an unauthorized manner and without the consent or knowledge of his former partners to further his fraud scheme. The file seeks to know where the ill-gotten funds went and, if so. of it is hidden. In addition, the company asks if Murdaugh has made any deals involving future payments related to books, interviews or any other advertising. “
The lawsuit, which lists the causes of action as conversion and breach of contract, was filed by Jamie L. Walters, attorney for Columbia, SC, with Koon, Cook & Walters, LLC. PMPED seeks actual and punitive damages.
Hours after the court filings, a spokesperson for one of Murdaugh’s attorneys Jim Griffith released the following statement:
“This is a very sad development. Alex holds in very high regard every member of the law firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, Detrick. He has pledged his full cooperation to the company.
Murdaugh is involved in numerous civil lawsuits, including being named an accused in a wrongful death lawsuit related to the 2019 fatal boat crash that killed Mallory Beach, as well as in several ongoing criminal investigations. He is currently in an undisclosed drug rehab center while on personal bail on charges of insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false report. police.
The legal complaint
“In early September 2021, PMPED discovered that Murdaugh had a bank account with Bank of America in the name of ‘Alexander Murdaugh d / b / a Forge’, a fictitious entity that does not provide any services and does not manufacture any products for sale. has learned that Murdaugh is using this account to convert monies owed to PMPED and its clients for his personal use.
“PMPED determined that Murdaugh was able to covertly steal these funds by disguising the disbursements of the settlements as payments to an annuity company, trust account or structured settlement for clients or as structured attorney fees that he had won when in fact they were deposited into the phantom fund. account at Bank of America.
“At present, PMPED has identified some files in which Murdaugh has used this ploy. Murdaugh knew his actions would escape detection based on his experience with PMPED and his long-standing business relationship with Forge Consulting, LLC (“FCL”) in Colombia, South Carolina.
“For many years, FCL has provided valuable services to some PMPED clients; these services include brokerage of structured settlements and annuities as well as the creation of specialized trusts to protect client assets. FCL is an exceptional company that has Acquired a Respected Reputation Across the Country In addition, Murdaugh was aware that FCL had provided PMPED lawyers with financial advice that included structured legal fees.
“Murdaugh may have used this business relationship in conjunction with his fictitious and misleading business name to issue checks on the PMPED client’s trust account payable to” Forge “or” Forge Consulting, LLC “and deposit those checks into his personal Bank of America account The PMPED was not aware of this regime until September 2, 2021.
“This discovery prompted a review of previous settlements of cases resolved by Murdaugh. This review showed numerous checks made payable to” Forge “or” Forge Consulting, LLC, “but the files did not contain the normal documentation required. to perform the services offered by FCL.
“PMPED consulted with FCL on September 2, 2021 regarding the verifications uncovered during its review of Murdaugh’s records. On September 2, 2021, FCL confirmed that it had not provided any service to customers identified by PMPED. Further, FCL stated that he never assisted the defendant in structuring legal fees. FCL was not assisting the defendant in his project and had no knowledge of the misuse of his name or his conduct.
“On the morning of September 3, 2021, Murdaugh was confronted with the information PMPED uncovered during his review and discussions with FCL. Murdaugh admitted to converting amounts owed to PMPED and its clients for his personal use. PMPED has requested Murdaugh’s immediate resignation on September 3, 2021, which was received this afternoon. On September 4, 2021, PMPED notified the Hampton County Sheriff’s Office and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division of the alleged criminal activity of the defendant On information and belief, that the investigation is ongoing.
“On September 6, 2021, the PMPED notified the South Carolina Supreme Court Disciplinary Council Office of the Respondent’s alleged ethical violations. Upon information and conviction, this investigation is ongoing.
“PMPED immediately retained the services of an accounting firm to begin a thorough review of all of Murdaugh’s financial activities while he was employed at PMPED. This review is ongoing. PMPED has repaid all trust accounts of clients who suffered a known loss as a result of Murdaugh’s action while he was an employee of PMPED and working for clients of PMPED. It is expected that additional information may become known, which could result in more losses for PMPED, as it protects the interests of its clients.