Former bank executive linked to Alex Murdaugh indicted on conspiracy charges

FILE - In this Nov. 28, 2018, file photo, the Department of Justice seal is seen in Washington,...
FILE - In this Nov. 28, 2018, file photo, the Department of Justice seal is seen in Washington, D.C.(Jose Luis Magana | AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana, File)
Published: Jul. 20, 2022 at 6:23 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The former chief executive officer of Palmetto State Bank is facing conspiracy charges.

A federal grand jury indicted Russell Lucius Laffitte with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, bank fraud, wire fraud and misapplication of bank funds Wednesday.

In early May, disbarred lawyer Alex Murdaugh and Cory Fleming were indicted with one count of criminal conspiracy to misappropriate funds to Murdaugh that were held in trust as conservator for Hakeem L. Pinckney and his estate with the bank.

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Allegedly this was done to help Murdagh pay loans Laffitte had issued to him from client funds in an unreleated case which Laffitee also served as a fiduciary.

Thursday’s indictment alleged Laffite conspired with a bank customer while serving as a conservator for a bank customer’s personal injury clients by extending $355,000 in personal loans to himself and $900,000 in personal loans to the customer from funds held at PSB. The money belonged to personal injury clients.

The indictment said Laffitte knew the funds loaned were being used to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in overdraft on a personal account.

It further alleges he knew the money used to pay back the loans was stolen from other personal injury clients.

Laffitte is alleged to have collected $391,781.07 in fees while serving as a personal representative for clients.

Thursday’s indictment also said on two occasions he misapplied bank funds. On Oct. 28, 2021 Laffitte is alleged to have paid the firm $680,000 without notice or consent of the bank in a fraudulent transfer.

It also alleges on July 15, 2021 he extended a commercial loan of $750,000. He allegedly did this knowing it was unsecured and that the loan would be used to pay an attorney and to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars on an overdrafted bank account.

He faces up to 30 years in prison on all charges if convicted.

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