Officer Urges Judge Not to Lower Alex Murdaugh's $7M Bond, Says He Swindled Him Out of $100K
When South Carolina Highway Patrol Officer Thomas Moore was injured in the line of duty in 2018, he turned to prominent Lowcountry attorney Alex Murdaugh for help.
Instead of helping him, Murdaugh took $100,000 of Moore's compensation for his injuries, a grand jury indictment alleges.
Moore was among several people who spoke at the hearing held after Murdaugh's attorneys filed a motion last Tuesday asking the court to lower their client's $7 million bond. The motion claimed Murdaugh has less than $10,000 in his bank account and doesn't have enough money to "pay a phone bill."
The judge has taken the request "under advisement," The Island Packet reports.
On Dec. 13, Judge Lee set the $7 million bond for 48 counts of financial misconduct and other crimes Murdaugh faces — one of the largest in South Carolina history, with no option to pay 10% for release.
Suspended from practicing law, Murdaugh, 53, has been charged in 12 indictments with stealing $6.2 million from his former law firm, former clients and others, court documents state.
The once-wealthy heir to a South Carolina legal dynasty has been held in the Columbia jail since Oct. 16 after being arrested and charged with a host of financial and other crimes.
He is also facing a slew of civil suits in the millions.
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Murdaugh is a person of interest in the murders of his wife and son, according to his attorneys. Authorities haven't named any suspects or made any arrests in connection with the slayings.
Maggie had gone to see a divorce attorney before her murder, a source told PEOPLE.
Maggie left everything she owned — including property Murdaugh had signed over to her in recent years — to her husband when she died, court records show.
On Monday in court, Moore told the judge how the accident he suffered while on duty has left him permanent nerve damage and many medical bills, The Island Packet reports.
When the judge asked Moore if he would fear for his life if Murdaugh were released on bond, he replied, "Would I be surprised if he or somebody related to him showed up at my house with a gun? Absolutely not."
How Murdaugh Allegedly Stole Money from an Injured Officer
On Nov. 18, 2021, a grand jury indicted Murdaugh and charged him with breach of trust with fraudulent intent, money laundering, computer crime and forgery in connection with Moore's case, the indictment says.
In January 2021, Moore came to Murdaugh for help with a personal injury case after being injured in the line of duty. Murdaugh convinced him to sign over a $125,000 check he had received from an insurance company to his law firm, Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick (PMPED, which has since been renamed), according to the indictment.
Murdaugh allegedly told Moore that the money — compensation to Moore for injuries sustained in the line of duty — couldn't be dispersed until his litigation was finished, the indictment says.
Murdaugh allegedly created a "Settlement Proceeds" check for $125,000 made out to "Forge" to be dispersed from the PMPED Client Trust Account.
Forge Consulting, LLC, is a legitimate company often used by South Carolina lawyers to facilitate structured settlements, the indictment says.
But Murdaugh allegedly ended up depositing the check into an account he had allegedly created "under the name 'Richard A. Murdaugh Sole Prop DBA Forge' for the purpose of misappropriating funds belong to others with the illusion that the money was being paid to the legitimate company, Forge Consulting, LLC," the indictment says.
"Instead of compensating Patrolman Moore, Murdaugh instead breached Patrolman Moore's trust and converted the money to his own personal use," the indictment says.
Once the $125,000 was in the account he created, Murdaugh allegedly conducted financial transactions including online banking transfers and cash withdrawals to convert the money "to his own personal use," the indictment alleges.
He also used it for expenses including cash and checks written to associates.
The transactions exceeded $100,000 in a 12-month period, it says.
Since Murdaugh's wife and son were killed in June, Murdaugh's once-cushy life has imploded.
In September, Murdaugh was arrested and charged in connection with a botched suicide-for-hire plan after allegedly hiring a former client to shoot him in the head so his surviving son, Buster, 26, could claim a $10 million life insurance payout.
He was released on bond and returned to an out-of-state rehab program to treat his opioid addiction.
On Oct. 14, he was arrested in Florida and charged this time in connection with the alleged misappropriation of $4.3 million in settlement funds that were supposed to go to the sons of his late housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield, who died in a trip-and-fall accident while working at the Murdaugh's home.
He was jailed on Oct. 16 and remains held in the Columbia jail in Richland County.
He was denied bond on Oct. 19 in connection to the Satterfield case.
Murdaugh is facing charges including filing a false police report, insurance fraud, conspiracy, embezzlement and money laundering, prosecutors say.
His attorneys did not respond to PEOPLE's requests for comment.