Disgraced former attorney Alex Murdaugh faces new charges of tax evasion


Disgraced former South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh, who was accused of killing his wife and son and being involved in financial crimes and fraud schemes, now faces a new set of tax evasion charges.

Murdaugh was indicted by the South Carolina state grand jury on nine counts of premeditated attempt to evade or evade a tax, Attorney General Alan Wilson said in a news release on Friday.

Murdaugh allegedly failed to report more than $6.9 million in earnings between 2011 and 2019, which the publication said he “earned through illegal activities.” The former attorney owes more than $486,000 in state taxes, the press release added.

According to the indictment, Murdaugh made those millions from court settlement proceeds from “an ongoing fraud scheme” by his former law firm Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick (PMPED) and his clients.

“The funds derived from Murdaugh’s ongoing illegal activities have been converted for personal use and as such qualify as earned income,” the indictment reads.

CNN has reached out to Murdaugh’s attorney for comment on the new charges.

The Murdaugh case first caught national attention in early September 2021 after the once-prominent lawyer was shot in the head on a street but survived. Court documents later revealed that Murdaugh allegedly admitted to authorities that he conspired with a former client to kill him as part of a suicidal fraud scheme so his only surviving son could receive a $10 million life insurance payout .

The incident marked the beginning of what has developed into a complicated, year-long, bloody tragedy.

That same month, Murdaugh resigned from the law firm after it was found he had embezzled funds, PMPED said at the time.

“We were shocked and dismayed to learn that Alex had violated our principles and code of ethics. He lied and he stole from us,” PMPED said in a statement in late September 2021.

That same month, the state Supreme Court issued an order suspending his license to practice law in South Carolina.

Murdaugh’s attorney also said his client was an opioid addict at the time and was in the early stages of treatment.

The South Carolina state grand jury has indicted Murdaugh on a total of 99 counts of plotting to defraud victims totaling more than $8.7 million, in addition to state taxes owed, the attorney general said.

Alex Murdaugh SCREENGRAB July 20, 2022

A disgraced lawyer accused of murdering his wife and son appears in court

Murdaugh is also facing murder charges in connection with the deaths of his wife Margaret “Maggie” Murdaugh, 52, and their youngest son, Paul Murdaugh, 22, who were found shot dead at the family property in June 2021. He has pleaded not guilty.

In a filing earlier this month, prosecutors alleged Murdaugh’s motive for killing the two was to divert attention from the plans he was implementing to avoid financial ruin.

“The evidence will show that Murdaugh accumulated significant debt over a period of years, and to uncover this debt he began engaging in illegal financial crimes,” prosecutors wrote in the filing. “The evidence will further show that these financial crimes came to light at the time of the murders, more specifically on the day of the murders.”

The murders, prosecutors said, were Murdaugh’s attempt to “take the focus away from himself and buy himself extra time to try to prevent his financial crimes from being exposed.”

Murdaugh’s murder trial is set to begin in January.

Murdaugh wants the trial to begin quickly, his attorney previously said, because he believes the “killer or killers of his wife and son are still at large.”

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