Alex Murdaugh’s accomplice and longtime friend Cory Fleming was sentenced to nearly four years in prison for his involvement in the convicted killer’s scheme to steal millions of dollars from his dead housekeeper’s family.
Federal judge Richard Gergel sentenced Fleming on Tuesday to 46 months in prison, which was the lower end of the sentencing guidelines, The Associated Press reported.
Fleming, 54, was accused of helping his law school friend steal $4.3m in insurance money that was intended for the sons of Murdaugh’s housekeeper Gloria Satterfield.
Ms Satterfield died in a mysterious “trip and fall” accident at the prominent family’s 1,700-acre Moselle estate in South Carolina in 2018 – the same property where Murdaugh shot and killed his wife Maggie and son Paul three years later on 7 June 2021.
Murdaugh was convicted of their murders in March 2023 and is currently serving life in prison.
Following the deaths of Maggie and Paul, an investigation into Ms Satterfield’s passing was reopened as the string of deaths, stolen money and corruption surrounding Murdaugh came to light.
Satterfield, who worked for the family for more than 20 years, was found at the bottom of the steps leading into the family’s home.
She never resumed consciousness and died from her injuries three weeks later on 26 February.
At the time, Murdaugh claimed that she had tripped over the family’s dogs and hit her head, and her death was regarded as an accidental fall. However, her death certificate cited her manner of death as “natural” and no autopsy was ever carried out.
Murdaugh had promised the sons that he would take care of them and recommended they hire Fleming as their lawyer.
He then told insurance companies that Ms Satterfield tripped over their dogs and convinced them to pay more than $4m to what they thought was Satterfield’s estate through Fleming. But instead, Murdaugh had Fleming send the checks to him. The sons didn’t see a dime until Murdaugh’s finances began to unravel.
Murdaugh and Fleming then stole the settlement money for themselves and the housekeeper’s sons didn’t get a dime.
Much of the stolen money was funneled through a fake “Forge” bank account which sought to imitate the legitimate and totally unrelated business Forge Consulting.
Fleming said he knew the disgraced attorney was going to steal something from the family, but he thought it might be $100,000 — not the entire $4m-plus award. He also said he did not realise the depth of his old friend’s depravity.
Fleming, who surrendered his licence to practise law in both Georgia and South Carolina, is the second associate connected to Murdaugh to be sentenced.
Russell Laffitte, who was CEO of Palmetto State Bank at the time, was sentenced to seven years in prison earlier this month after pleading guilty to helping Murdaugh steal money from settlements he got for clients.
He acted as Murdaugh’s personal banker and as a custodian or conservator for some of his law firm clients. Laffitte then conspired to defraud those clients, with the two men diverting the money to themselves.
Murdaugh still faces more than 100 charges in state and federal courts for crimes prosecutors say range from stealing from clients and his family’s law firm to running a drug and money laundering ring to tax evasion to unsuccessfully arranging for someone to kill him so his surviving son could get life insurance money.