Alex Murdock was sentenced to 40 years in federal court for financial crimes


Charleston, South Carolina
CNN

Accused murderer Alex Murdock received another prison sentence Monday, this time in federal court, where a judge sentenced him to 40 years after pleading guilty to a raft of financial crimes, including nearly two dozen counts of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering.

The federal sentence — which significantly exceeded a prosecutor's recommendation and ordered Murdock to pay more than $8.7 million in restitution to victims — will run concurrently with the 27 years he's already served following his conviction in state court for similar misconduct. Prosecutors say both lawsuits stemmed from numerous schemes in which the now-disbarred attorney defrauded his personal injury clients and law firm out of millions of dollars.

It is in addition to two consecutive life sentences without parole that Murdoch, 55, received for murdering his wife Maggie and 22-year-old son Paul a year ago. To divert and delay investigations into his unraveling financial crimes.

While Murdoch has insisted he is innocent of the murders, he admitted to the fraud and did so again Monday, saying he believed “some of the things I did” were due to opioid addiction. Still, he said, “I know better.”

“I'm really filled with grief, I'm filled with guilt for what I've done to people I care about so much,” Murdock told the judge shortly before the sentencing.

“I understand,” he said, “that the natural reaction to what I just said is probably, 'Does he regret what he did or does he regret getting caught?' … But I assure you and everyone who was affected that I am sorry for what I have done.

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Murdoch pleaded guilty last September to 22 federal charges including wire fraud and bank fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud and money laundering.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard M. Kerkel's sentence exceeded the 30-year sentence recommended by federal prosecutors by 10 years, which the court “believed was sufficient, but not excessive.”

In sentencing Murdock, the judge repeatedly cited the “shocking human toll” of his crimes, and his repeated targeting of vulnerable people who were injured, sick or grieving and came to a lawyer for help.

“They put their problems and trust in him,” Kerkel said. “It was from those people, he abused and stole.”

Gergel dismissed Murdoch's statements, blaming his actions on his drug addiction, saying that “really no frail person could remove the complexity of some of these transactions.” Murdoch's actions brought shame on the entire legal community, and the judge said he needed a “severe sentence” to serve as an example to other lawyers who tried to engage in the same conduct.

“This sentence should speak the truth, and the truth here is that this is a reprehensible crime,” Kerkel said.

Robert Maniscalco

Alex Murdock, bottom right, is seen in a courtroom sketch during his federal sentencing on April 1, 2024.

Monday's sentencing hearing began with prosecutors discussing the latest charge Murdock failed the polygraph testApparently violating the terms of a plea agreement requiring his honesty.

Prosecutors asked to be released from the terms of the agreement, which stipulated that a sentence be recommended to run concurrently with a sentence handed down in state court for the same misdemeanor. Murdoch's attorneys rejected that claim, accusing the government's polygraph examiner of “odd behavior” and skewing the test results.

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Kerkel, however, indicated on Monday morning that he wanted to serve a concurrent sentence.

However, U.S. Attorney Adair Boroughs indicated that his office was “very pleased with the outcome.”

“Today is the sentencing to get justice for Alex Murdoch's financial victims,” ​​Boroughs told reporters outside court.

“These victims are not the names listed in the court filings,” he said. “They were real people who trusted a lawyer during the most difficult times of their lives, when they lost loved ones, when they were seriously injured – they were betrayed in their most vulnerable moments.”

Advocates for Murdock's victims similarly welcomed the judge's sentence, telling reporters outside court that Murdock – who will appeal his murder charges – will remain behind bars.

“Today he was tightly wrapped in a belt and suspenders and saran wrap. He won't get a breath of fresh air,” said Eric Plant, who represents several of Murdoch's victims, including the family of the late housekeeper. Gloria Satterfield.

“Hopefully he'll get through on the double murder charges. But the backstop is always these financial crimes, so I'm very grateful to my clients,” Plant said.

An open question is whether Murdoch will be able to repay the restitution he owes to the victims. Boroughs said how much federal authorities can recover is “yet to be determined,” but “we are pursuing court-ordered restitution and trying to make victims whole.”

But according to Justin Bamberg, another attorney for Murdock's victims, “The truth is … Alex could never pay anyone what they truly deserve, a fraction of what he owes them.”

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This story has been updated with additional information.

CNN's Dianne Gallagher reported from Charleston, South Carolina, while Dakin Andone reported and wrote this story in New York. Jade Gordon, Alta Spells and Wesley Proof contributed to this report.

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