Home News Alex Murdaugh sentenced to 40 years on federal fraud charges

Alex Murdaugh sentenced to 40 years on federal fraud charges


Alex Murdaugh’s stunning downfall was completed Monday, when a federal judge sentenced him to 40 years behind bars for stealing from his clients and law firm.

Murdaugh, 55, had already been convicted of killing his wife, Maggie, and older son, Paul, though he is appealing that verdict. He also pleaded guilty to state fraud charges and got a 27-year sentence in that case.

The FBI had recommended 17.5 to 22 years in its report on the case, but U.S. District Judge Richard Gergel brought the hammer down.

Gergel said he was appalled that Murdaugh stole from “the most needy, vulnerable people,” including a client who became a quadriplegic after a crash and the sons of his family housekeeper.

Alex Murdaugh cries as he addresses the court during his sentencing for stealing from 18 clients, Nov. 28, 2023, at the Beaufort County Courthouse in Beaufort, S.C. Murdaugh is scheduled to be sentenced Monday, April 1, 2024 on financial crime charges. It's likely the last time he will face a judge for punishment. (Andrew J. Whitaker/The Post And Courier via AP)
Alex Murdaugh cries as he addresses the court on Nov. 28, 2023 during his sentencing for stealing from 18 clients in his state fraud case at the Beaufort County Courthouse in Beaufort, S.C.

“They placed all their problems and all their hopes on Mr. Murdaugh, and it is from those people he abused and stole,” Gergel said. “It is a difficult set of actions to understand.”

Murdaugh’s various prison terms, including the life sentence for murder, are set to be served concurrently. But Monday’s 40-year sentence ensures Murdaugh will spend the vast majority of his remaining days behind bars, even if the murder conviction is overturned on appeal.

Just three years ago, Murdaugh stood as one of the most powerful men in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. He came from a long line of well-connected lawyers in the area and ran the region’s premier law firm.

But after Maggie, 52, and Paul, 22, were shot dead on the family’s Colleton County estate in June 2021, Murdaugh’s life unraveled in front of the world.

Alex Murdaugh, convicted of killing his wife, Maggie, and younger son, Paul, in June 2021, stands with his defense team during a hearing on a motion for a retrial, Jan. 16, 2024, at the Richland County Judicial Center in Columbia, S.C. (Tracy Glantz/The State via AP)
Alex Murdaugh, convicted of killing his wife, Maggie, and younger son, Paul, in June 2021, stands with his defense team during a hearing on a motion for a retrial, Jan. 16, 2024, at the Richland County Judicial Center in Columbia, S.C. (Tracy Glantz/The State via AP)

In September 2021, Murdaugh hired a man to kill him so that his surviving son, Buster, could receive a $10 million life insurance payout. But the assisted suicide plot failed when Murdaugh survived the shooting.

Since then, Murdaugh has been stuck behind bars and his various schemes have been exposed. He eventually admitted to stealing $6 million, which he blamed on a serious opioid addiction. But Judge Gergel wasn’t buying it at Monday’s sentencing hearing.

“No truly impaired person could pull off these complex transactions,” he said of Murdaugh’s various fake accounts and complicated financial schemes.

While Murdaugh pleaded guilty to the financial crimes, investigators still believe he didn’t tell the whole truth about his numerous plots. Murdaugh officially owes $9 million in restitution.

Murdaugh has expressed remorse for his various frauds in court, though he continues to deny killing his wife and son.

“There’s not enough time and I don’t possess a sufficient vocabulary to adequately portray to you in words the magnitude of how I feel about the things I did,” he said Monday of the fraud.

With News Wire Services

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