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Murdaugh Sentenced to 40 Years for Stealing Insurance coverage, Different Funds from Purchasers, Agency

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — For possibly the final time, Alex Murdaugh, in a jail jumpsuit as an alternative of the swimsuit he used to put on, shuffled right into a courtroom Monday in South Carolina and was sentenced to 40 years in federal jail.

Murdaugh was punished — this time in federal courtroom — for stealing from purchasers and his legislation agency. The 55-year-old disbarred legal professional is already serving a life sentence with out parole in a state jail for killing his spouse and son.

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Federal brokers had beneficial a sentence from 17 1/2 to simply underneath 22 years.

Murdaugh additionally pleaded responsible in state courtroom to monetary crimes and was ordered to spend 27 years in prison. The federal sentence will run concurrently his state jail time period and he possible must serve all 40 years if his homicide convictions are overturned on enchantment.

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U.S. District Choose Richard Gergel mentioned he sentenced Murdaugh to a harsher punishment than recommended as a result of he stole from “essentially the most needy, susceptible folks,” together with a consumer who grew to become a quadriplegic after a crash, a state trooper who was injured on the job, and a belief fund supposed for kids whose mother and father had been killed in a wreck.

Murdaugh stole from individuals who “positioned all their issues and all their hopes” on him, Gergel mentioned.

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The 22 federal counts are the ultimate costs excellent for Murdaugh, who three years in the past was a longtime lawyer negotiating multimillion-dollar settlements in tiny Hampton County, the place members of his household served as elected prosecutors and ran the world’s premier legislation agency for almost a century.

Murdaugh can even should pay almost $9 million in restitution.

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“There’s a staggering human toll to each cent,” mentioned legal professional Justin Bamberg, who represented a number of of Murdaugh’s victims.

Prosecutors requested the decide to provide Murdaugh a harsher sentence as a result of FBI brokers suppose he’s not telling the whole truth about what occurred to $6 million he stole and whether or not a so-far unnamed legal professional helped his prison schemes.

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Murdaugh’s largest scheme concerned the sons of his longtime housekeeper Gloria Satterfield. She died in a fall on the household house. Murdaugh promised to maintain Satterfield’s household, then labored with a lawyer good friend who pleaded responsible on a scheme to steal $4 million in a wrongful loss of life settlement with the household’s insurer.

In all, Murdaugh took settlement cash from or inflated charges or bills for greater than two dozen purchasers. Prosecutors mentioned the FBI discovered 11 extra victims than the state investigation discovered and that Murdaugh stole almost $1.3 million from them.

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Murdaugh once more apologized to his victims at his sentencing Monday, saying he felt “guilt, sorrow, disgrace, embarrassment, humiliation.” He supplied to fulfill with victims to allow them to say what they need to say and “extra carefully examine my sincerity.”

“There’s not sufficient time and I don’t possess a enough vocabulary to adequately painting to you in phrases the magnitude of how I really feel in regards to the issues I did,” Murdaugh mentioned.

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Murdaugh blamed almost 20 years of habit to opioids and mentioned he was proud he has been clear for 937 days.

Gergel scoffed at this rationalization.

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“No actually impaired particular person may pull off these advanced transactions,” the decide mentioned of the maze of faux accounts, juggled checks and cash actions that hid the thefts for almost 20 years.

Prosecutor Emily Limehouse mentioned Murdaugh’s claims don’t make sense as a result of he advised the FBI he was taking the identical quantity of drugs as he did when his habit began in 2008, however the amount of cash he stole elevated quickly within the years earlier than his arrest.

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“He was adamant the entire cash was spent on medicine. It doesn’t add up,” Limehouse mentioned.

Murdaugh was convicted a yr in the past of killing his younger son Paul with a shotgun and his spouse, Maggie, with a rifle. Whereas he has pleaded responsible to dozens of monetary crimes, he adamantly denies he killed them and testified in his own defense. There might be years of appeals within the homicide instances.

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The case has captivated true crime followers, spawning dozens of podcast episodes and 1000’s of social media posts.

Prosecutors need to hold lots of the FBI statements secret, saying they’re nonetheless investigating the lacking cash and who may need helped Murdaugh to steal it. They are saying making the knowledge public would jeopardize an ongoing grand jury investigation.

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The protection requested for a lighter sentence, evaluating Murdaugh’s doable sentence to 25 years for crypto entrepreneur Sam Bankman-Fried or Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes’ 11 years for duping buyers, saying they stole billions whereas Murdaugh’s thefts had been in hundreds of thousands.

However lawyer Eric Bland, who represented the household of Murdaugh’s housekeeper, mentioned there was a giant distinction.

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“These victims had been investing cash,” he mentioned, standing with one in all Satterfield’s sons. “They misplaced family members.”

Picture: Murdaugh at a sentencing listening to in 2023. (Andrew J. Whitaker/The Submit And Courier through AP, Pool, file)

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