Less than two weeks after denying any role in the Gloria Satterfield settlement, partners at the Murdaugh family law firm – Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick (PMPED) – now have a lot of explaining to do after new court documents allege the Hampton, SC company was involved in the scam scheme to steal millions from the sons of Satterfield.
Satterfield, who served as the housekeeper of the Murdaugh family for more than two decades, died of an alleged travel and fall accident at Alex Murdaugh’s home in February 2018. On September 15, 2021, the Home Division South Carolina law enforcement (SLED) recently opened an investigation. in Satterfield’s death and his wrongful death settlement after a Hampton County coroner found inconsistencies about his death.
Days after SLED opened its investigation, FITSNews released a shocking report that revealed how Alex murdaugh would have worked with his two friends Cory fleming, a lawyer and Chad Westendorf, a banker, in a scheme to take millions of dollars from Satterfield’s sons after his $4.3 million secret settlement has been approved by the judge Carmen mullen in 2019.
The motion filed Tuesday by Eric Bland – who represents Satterfield’s two sons in a lawsuit against Murdaugh and his two co-conspirators – asks to bring Fleming, Westendorf and Murdaugh to court to testify under oath as to what happened to the settlement funds.
Bland is also asking a judge to detain Murdaugh and his co-conspirators in contempt of court “for gross and willful violations of court orders,” according to the petition.
The motion is accompanied by damning documents which show that PMPED employees – aside from Alex Murdaugh – were aware of the settlement.
According to court documents, $ 2.8 million of Satterfield’s settlement was supposed to go to his sons, who are the sole beneficiaries of his estate.
However, Satterfield’s two sons had not received a single penny from the settlement of their mother’s wrongful death – until Friday, when Fleming and his law firm Moss, Kuhn & Fleming agreed to a settlement in the malpractice case. .
On Tuesday, Bland received a check from Westendorf for the $30,000 he agreed in the case – meaning Alex Murdaugh is the only party left who has not agreed to return the settlement money.
Fleming, the lawyer who originally represented Satterfield’s sons and Murdaugh’s longtime friend, decided to come out and pay back the money they had collected in legal fees – only after several reports media reports and a lawsuit prompted them to do so, according to Bland.
In fact, one of Fleming’s law firm partners told the Island Packet newspaper on September 24 that he planned to file a counter follows lawsuit against Satterfield’s estate, claiming the charges in the lawsuit were false.
Just a week after making the claim, Fleming’s law firm agreed to settle the dispute.
On September 10, Bland sent Fleming a notice asking him to produce all documents related to the Satterfield settlement (which was first reported by FITSNews on September 14).
Finally, after the Satterfield story grabbed the headlines of almost every major news outlet in the United States in September, Fleming turned his documents over to Bland on September 29.
These documents, which appear to provide evidence against several powerful players, are included in the most recent petition.
Documents filed Tuesday show emails and letters from Alex Murdaugh and his paralegals acting as representatives of Gloria Satterfield’s estate in the wrongful death settlement.
It is said to be Alex Murdaugh – the only defendant in the settlement – claiming to represent the sons of Satterfield, who are the plaintiffs.
Given this blatant conflict of interest, how could this not raise major red flags in PMPED?
“PMPED has sent letters of representation of the estate to third parties, prepared probate documents for the estate and the personal representative of the estate, notarized probate documents and exchanged emails with Cory Fleming, also attorney for the representative. staff and beneficiaries of the estate about the settlement funds, ”the motion said.
(See copy of one of the letters below)
The documents directly contradict a statement released by the cabinet on September 24 (posted below) claiming that the PMPED partners were “stunned” by media reports of the Satterfield fraud scheme.
So was PMPED really stunned by the accusations or did they know and hope no one would find out?
The documents also show that Judge Carmen Mullen, who has ties to the Murdaugh family, held two hearings in the case, none of which have been recorded.
Recently, Bland filed a motion requesting that Mullen hold Alex murdaugh for his role in settling the Satterfield settlement based on a South Carolina Law which states that a person can be arrested in a civil case without criminal charge in certain circumstances.
“She responded and said she couldn’t hear the query because she’s a witness to all the facts,” Bland said. “So I saw it was an invitation.”
Bland then filed a motion to file Mullen on October 20. Mullen did not respond.
“It’s very rare to be able to remove a judge,” Bland said.
Bland has questions for Mullen, who is accused of approving a settlement that was mostly unofficial and in major procedural violation. He said Mullen shouldn’t even have heard the settlement proposal since the case didn’t have a number and was never in the system.
The documents – which were secretly filed in April and May 2019, around the time the Murdaughs had just emerged into the media spotlight following the fatal boat crash that killed Mallory Beach – did not indicate no longer mysteriously the name of Alex Murdaugh as accused. He appears to have convinced the court to remove his name – a luxury most South Carolina citizens don’t have when they admit fault in the wrongful death of another human being.
The Satterfield family learned that Gloria tripped on the steps of the Murdaugh’s former home on Holly Street in Hampton, SC on February 2, 2018. They were told the Murdaugh’s dogs tripped her – causing her a fall that resulted in her sustaining a traumatic brain injury.
Now authorities are investigating both Satterfield’s death and possible settlement crimes.
How the diet worked
At Gloria’s funeral, Alex allegedly started taunting his sons and convinced them to hire his friend Cory Fleming to get money for their mother’s death, according to Bland.
However, Satterfield’s sons were unaware that Fleming was Murdaugh’s former roommate in college, Paul Murdaugh’s best friend and godfather, according to the lawsuit.
Alex Murdaugh also convinced Gloria’s sons that they needed a banker (Westendorf) as their personal representative for Gloria’s estate, according to the lawsuit.
Bland later learned that Alex Murdaugh’s insurance company had actually been in business for more than $ 4.3 million – with $2.8 million that was supposed to go to his customers.
Murdaugh and Fleming apparently claimed they were making a structured settlement for the Satterfield sons, although this was never disclosed in court. Essentially, it would work like a trust – instead of getting a lump sum, the applicant would receive more money over time with tax breaks.
Murdaugh claimed he opened an annuity account for Satterfield’s sons through a company called Forge Consulting LLC.
“The only problem is that Cory never received any documents from Forge and he follows the instructions of the defendant (Murdaugh), who tells him after taking your fees, write the check to” Forge “and send it to a box. mailing in Hampton, South Carolina.
Alex Murdaugh allegedly told Fleming to write checks to “Forge” – not Forge Consulting LLC – after setting up an account with that name.
“Alex Murdaugh opened a bank account at Bank of America under the name Forge, cashed the check and walked away with the money,” Bland said.
It appears that after the Murdaugh family came into the limelight following the boating accident, Alex Murdaugh was able to convince the court to remove his name from the caption of the document where it would typically point to Gloria. Satterfield versus Alex Murdaugh.
See a screenshot of the command below…
According to Bland, the order is concerning for a number of reasons.
- Alex’s name is not listed as a defendant at the top as it should. Alex did not ask the court for permission to withdraw his name.
- There is no file number indicated on the document.
- The document was not saved in the court file (these documents still have dates and court information on the side).
Mullen signed the order on May 13, 2019 – days after Paul Murdaugh’s bail hearing on his three felony counts in the boat crash.
So why did Mullen approve the settlement?
Now Mullen, Fleming, Murdaugh, Westendorf, and anyone else allegedly involved in this scheme should have to answer some tough questions about how this settlement went and where the money went.
Bland will not stop until these questions are answered.
“My goal is that at the end of the day my clients get their full $ 4.3 million because none of those people won in fees,” Bland said. “You don’t know how to earn costs when you fly. “
ABOUT THE AUTHOR..
Mandy matney is the Chief Information Officer at FITSNews. She is an award-winning reporter from Kansas who worked for newspapers in Missouri, Illinois and South Carolina before moving to FITS. She currently lives on Hilton Head Island where she enjoys the beach life. Mandy also hosts the Murdaugh Murders Podcast. Do you want to contact Mandy? Send your article ideas, comments, suggestions and tips to [email protected].
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