Trial date set for former bank executive linked to Alex Murdaugh

Published: Sep. 12, 2022 at 5:42 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 12, 2022 at 7:22 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - The former chief executive officer of Palmetto State Bank indicted on multiple charges will appear before a federal judge in November.

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.

Court documents indicate his trial is set to begin on Nov. 8 in Charleston.

Laffitte is accused of helping former Lowcountry attorney Alex Murdaugh and suspended attorney Cory Fleming divert nearly $2 million from clients in three separate instances.

The indictment alleged that Laffitte conspired with a bank customer, identified in court documents as an attorney with a law firm in Hampton County, while serving as a conservator for the attorney’s personal injury clients by extending $355,000 in personal loans to himself and $900,000 in personal loans to the attorney from funds held at the bank. That money, prosecutors say, belonged to personal injury clients.

The indictment alleged Laffitte knew the funds loaned were being used to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in overdraft and that he knew the money used to pay back the loans was stolen from other personal injury clients.

The indictment also alleged 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 that on July 15, 2021, he extended a commercial loan of $750,000, 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.

The bank terminated Laffitte in early 2022, court documents state.

Jury selection is set to begin on Nov. 8 and last through Nov. 18.