Alex Murdaugh Defrauded Them Out of Mom's $4M Life Insurance. Now He Wants Them to Pay Back the Money He Stole

Alex Murdaugh
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"Alex Murdaugh’s May 16th motion is yet another filing in a long line of rolls of legal toilet paper that Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin have filed in the multitude of civil and criminal actions on behalf of their client," said attorney Eric Bland.

Alex Murdaugh is asking a South Carolina judge to toss out the confession he made about the death of his former housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield,

Lawyers for the twice-convicted murderer, who is serving a life sentence after a jury found him guilty of killing his wife, Maggie, and son Paul, filed a motion this week in court to vacate a May 31, 2021, confession of judgment signed by Murdaugh to the Satterfield estate in the amount of $4.3 million.

That confession included what Murdaugh now says is the false claim that Satterfield, the family's longtime cook, nanny and housekeeper, died after his dogs caused her to fall down the stairs outside their home.

Murdaugh admitted during his murder trial earlier this year that after Satterfield's death he got her sons to file an insurance claim against him which stated that his dogs were responsible for their mother's death.

When Nautilus paid out that claim, Murdaugh said that he put the funds into an account for himself and never informed the boys.

The sons are Michael "Tony" Satterfield and Brian Harriot, whose mother died after allegedly falling down the stairs at Murdaugh's South Carolina home. Once they got wind of Murdaugh's deception, they sued both him and the lawyers involved in the deal, ultimately winning $7.5 million.

The lawyers involved in the deal say they assumed Murdaugh gave the two men the money paid out by the claim. 

Now, however, Murdaugh is saying his dogs had nothing to do with Satterfield's fall.

"Put simply, the fact that Mr. Murdaugh lied about his own liability for Ms. Satterfield’s death to fraudulently obtain insurance proceeds to perpetuate his severe opioid drug habit, while highly disconcerting, is hardly unbelievable given Mr. Murdaugh’s admitted actions and financial dealings during this time," reads the motion obtained by Inside Edition Digital. "It is another chapter in a bleak and dispiriting story of a man brought to his knees by a crippling drug addiction, who also had the means and knowledge to effect great financial harm upon others to feed that addiction."

The motion goes on to say that because Murdaugh lied about being liable for his employee's death, no one was entitled to the $4.3 million insurance payout. And if no one was entitled to the $4.3 million payout — which was pocketed by Murdaugh — then Satterfield's sons had no right to file a lawsuit against Murdaugh that ended in a $7.5 million judgment in their favor.


Murdaugh told first responders, police, and later his insurance company, that Satterfield told him that his four dogs had caused her to fall when he arrived to  find at the bottom of the stairs back in 2018.

Satterfield was airlifted to the hospital with a head injury on Feb. 2 and later died at a hospital on Feb. 26 at the age of 57.

Murdaugh then successfully filed two claims: a $505,000 death settlement with Lloyd's of London and the $4.3 million settlement from Murdaugh's own insurance policy with Nautilus after an investigation concluded he was liable for Satterfield's death as the owner of the dogs who caused her fall.

The sons never saw any of this money, and in this new motion Murdaugh and his lawyers argue they were never entitled to any part of the Nautilus settlement.

Murdaugh and his lawyers even suggest that Nautilus recoup its $4 million loss from the $7.5 million settlement the sons received after suing Murdaugh and his lawyers for failing to inform them of the insurance settlement.

"Banks and others paid restitution for the money Mr. Murdaugh stole because they realized they might share some liability with Mr. Murdaugh for his thefts. They paid the restitution to the Satterfield family and their lawyers not as a gift or expression of sympathy, but because they thought Mr. Murdaugh stole their money," the motion says. "Had they known the money was stolen from someone else, they would have paid that someone else."

Murdaugh and his lawyers previously made this argument in a May 1 filing in the case.

When asked for comment, Eric Bland, one of the attorneys from the firm Bland Richter that is representing the two sons, provided Inside Edition Digital with a press statement that read in part: "Alex Murdaugh’s May 16th motion is yet another filing in a long line of rolls of legal toilet paper that Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin have filed in the multitude of civil and criminal actions on behalf of their client who is a liar, a thief and a twice convicted murderer."

Bland in his statement called the lawsuit "frivolous" and accused Murdaugh's lawyers of "utilizing the judicial process for ulterior motives that are meant to harass and victimize the Satterfields again." 

"This motion is nothing more than the endless and non-stop prattle of sore losing lawyers," said Bland. "We welcome addressing these arguments in court. They have lost almost all of the meaningful motions they have filed on behalf of their miscreant client Alex Murdaugh over the past two years."


Prosecutors alleged at his trial earlier this year that Murdaugh’s motives for murdering his wife and son were financial, claiming he had been defrauding clients out of millions of dollars, embezzling funds from the family firm, and facing a potentially pricey lawsuit in the wake of a fatal boat crash involving son Paul.

In court documents obtained by Inside Edition Digital, prosecutors described Murdaugh as “an allegedly crooked lawyer and drug user who borrowed and stole wherever he could to stay afloat and one step ahead of detection.”

Prosecutors claim that Murdaugh had been asked to account for missing funds at the family firm on the day of the murders.

At the same time, he was also being asked to turn over a detailed accounting of his finances in a wrongful death lawsuit against his son Paul, who had been accused of drunkenly crashing a boat resulting in the death of a young woman. Paul entered a plea of not guilty to all charges related to that fatal crash prior to his death.

Murdaugh claimed that he had been visiting his mother at the time of the murders and returned to find the bodies of his wife and son.

There is currently another investigation underway involving a death near the family's property. The body of Stephen Smith, a classmate of Buster Murdaugh, was exhumed last month and an autopsy determined his cause of death to be homicide. Both Alex and Buster Murdaugh deny having any involvement or knowledge about Smith's death.

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