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Judge sets bond for Alex Murdaugh on latest charges

Published: Dec. 13, 2021 at 5:10 AM EST|Updated: Dec. 13, 2021 at 5:17 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC) - A judge set bond Monday morning for Lowcountry attorney Alex Murdaugh along with several conditions in connection to 21 new charges filed against him last week.

State Grand Jury Presiding Judge Alison Lee set a $7 million surety bond for the Lowcountry attorney. With that, Murdaugh would be required to be monitored with GPS, remain under house arrest, surrender his passport and waive extradition if he leaves the state. Lee said Murdaugh will also need substance abuse counseling and random drug testing at a residential facility within the state.

The bond covers a total of 48 charges Murdaugh faces from multiple state grand jury indictments.

The judge did not allow the media to record or stream the bond hearing.

Murdaugh told the court he understands there may be concerns that he could be a danger to himself in connection with a Labor Day weekend shooting in which he was wounded and later accused of hiring someone to fatally shoot him as part of an insurance fraud scheme.

“I made a terrible decision that I regret and frankly I’m embarrassed about,” Murdaugh said. “I’m not in that place now.”

State Grand Jury Chief Attorney Creighton Waters asked Lee to impose multiple conditions if bond were to be set for Murdaugh, including a bond amount of $4.7 million and that he be placed under house arrest and have no contact with victims. Waters told the court the state is not asking for bond to be denied but rather that the court set a very high surety bond for him.

The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office announced 21 new charges filed against Murdaugh from seven new state grand jury indictments Thursday. The new indictments charged Murdaugh with nine counts of breach of trust with fraudulent intent; seven counts of computer crimes; four counts of money laundering and one count of forgery, attorney general’s office spokesman Robert Kittle said.

Thursday’s indictment brought the total number of grand jury indictments to 12 and the total number of charges against the suspended attorney to 48, he said.

“Altogether, Murdaugh is charged in the new December State Grand Jury Indictments with respect to alleged schemes to defraud victims of $1,365,440.24,” Kittle said. “When combined with the State Grand Jury Indictments from November, the alleged total is $6,218,923.33.”

Waters said that if Murdaugh were convicted on all charges and maximum sentences were imposed, he could face a sentence of more than 500 years in prison.

Here is a breakdown of the seven new grand jury indictments:

  • In the first indictment, venued in Hampton County, Murdaugh is charged with breach of trust with fraudulent intent, value $10,000 or more (1 count); money laundering, value $100,000 or more (1 count); and computer crime, value $10,000 or more (1 count). Breach of trust with fraudulent intent, value $10,000 or more is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison or a fine in the discretion of the court. Money laundering, value $100,000 or more is a felony punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $250,000 or twice the amount at issue, whichever is greater. Computer crime, value $10,000 or more is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $50,000. The indictment arises out of an alleged scheme to defraud the victims of $112,500.
  • In the second indictment, venued in Hampton County, Murdaugh was charged with breach of trust with fraudulent intent, value more than $2,000, but less than $10,000 (1 count); and computer crime, value more than $1,000 but less than $10,000 (1 count). Breach of trust with fraudulent intent, value more than $2,000, but less than $10,000 is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison or a fine in the discretion of the court. Computer crime, value more than $1,000 but less than $10,000 is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and up to $10,000. The indictment arises out of an alleged scheme to defraud the victim of $9,569.30.
  • In the third indictment, venued in Colleton County, Murdaugh was charged with breach of trust with fraudulent intent, value $10,000 or more (1 count); money laundering, value $100,000 or more (1 count); and computer crime, value $10,000 or more (1 count). The indictment arises out of an alleged scheme to defraud the victim of $152,886.00.
  • In the fourth indictment, venued in Hampton County, Murdaugh was charged with breach of trust with fraudulent intent, value $10,000 or more (1 count); and computer crime, value $10,000 or more (1 count). The indictment arises out of an alleged scheme to defraud the victim of $95,000.00.
  • In the fifth indictment, venued in Beaufort County, Murdaugh was charged with breach of trust with fraudulent intent, value $10,000 or more (2 counts); money laundering, value $100,000 or more (1 count); computer crime, Vvalue $10,000 or more (1 count); and forgery, value $10,000 or more (1 count). Forgery, value $10,000 or more is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison or a fine in the discretion of the court. The indictment arises out of an alleged scheme to defraud the victim of $150,000.00.
  • In the sixth indictment, venued in Hampton County, Murdaugh was charged with breach of trust with fraudulent intent, value $10,000 or more (1 count); money laundering, value $100,000 or more (1 count); and computer crime, Vvalue $10,000 or more (1 count). The indictment arises out of an alleged scheme to defraud the victim of $750,000.00.
  • In the seventh indictment, venued in Hampton County, Murdaugh was charged with breach of trust with fraudulent intent, value $10,000 or more (1 count); computer crime, value $10,000 or more (1 count); and breach of trust with fraudulent intent, value more than $2,000, but less than $10,000 (1 count). The indictment arises out of an alleged scheme to defraud the victim of $95,504.95.

SPECIAL SECTION: The Murdaugh Cases

The State Supreme Court suspended Murdaugh’s license to practice law in early September after he was previously indicted by a Colleton County Grand Jury on charges related to an alleged scheme to commit suicide and defraud an insurance company.

Those charges stem from a Labor Day weekend shooting that sent Murdaugh to the hospital.

Murdaugh was also served with two Beaufort County arrest warrants for obtaining goods by false pretenses and remains in custody at the Alvin Glenn Detention Center in Columbia.

This State Grand Jury investigation has been conducted by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, the FBI, and the United States Attorney’s Office. The case will be prosecuted by the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office.

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