Lowcountry Headlines

Lowcountry Headlines


Alex Murdaugh released on bond in alleged $10M insurance fraud scheme

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HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC/WTOC) - Attorney Alex Murdaugh is expected to return to rehab after a judge set bond for him Thursday on charges related to a Labor Day weekend shooting.

A judge set a personal recognizance bond of $10,000 bond on the insurance fraud charge, $5,000 for filing a false police report charge, and $5,000 for the conspiracy to commit insurance fraud charge.

Murdaugh, 53, surrendered to authorities Thursday on the charges, which stem from an incident on Sept. 4 in which state investigators say Murdaugh provided Curtis Edward Smith with a gun and directed him to fatally shoot him in the head so that Murdaugh’s surviving son could collect a $10 million life insurance policy.

As a condition of the bond, he had to hand over his passport and willingly agree to return to rehab which is outside of the state. Murdaugh only has to pay the $20,000 if he fails to show up for his next court appearance.

Murdaugh was released and was returning to the rehab facility Thursday night, WTOC reported.

Officials with the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, who are prosecuting the case, had requested a $100,000 surety bond and a GPS monitor.

Murdaugh’s attorneys said the $100,000 bond amount was not needed as their client was not a danger to the community, and the only person who was in danger was Murdaugh. DickHarpootlian, one of Murdaugh’s lawyers, said up until these charges, his client “had no blemish on his character,” and had a significant opioid addiction that led him into financial issues and this situation.

Murdaugh’s lawyers said he wanted to “tell the truth,” and called agents with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to tell them every element involving the charges he’s facing.

Harpootliansaid Murdaugh’s 20-year opioid addiction and the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh on June 7 lead him to conspire with Smith in the suicide attempt.

“Before any of that falling happened, his wife and son were brutally murdered and that has had an extraordinary effect on him,”Harpootliansaid.

The judge ruled that as long as Murdaugh stays at rehab a monitor would not be required, but said he would be arrested if he leaves the rehab center.

Smith is also facing multiple charges in the alleged insurance fraud scheme. A judge set bond for him at $55,000earlier in the day on Thursday.

Murdaugh provided a statement to SLED admitting to the plot on Monday, the affidavit states, adding that Smith admitted the next day to being present during Murdaugh’s shooting and disposing of the gun.

Copyright 2021 WCSC. All rights reserved.

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