A college friend of convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh faces up to five years in prison after he pleaded guilty to stealing nearly $4 million in insurance policies intended for the sons of Murdaugh’s late housekeeper.
Cory Fleming, a 54-year-old criminal defense attorney, appeared in court in Charleston, South Carolina, on Thursday.
Federal Judge Richard Gergel, who presided over the proceedings, noted that it was highly unusual for such a prominent local personality to stand before him.
Fleming and Murdaugh, also 54, attended the University of South Carolina School of Law together and remained close friends.
Murdaugh was sentenced to life in prison in March for the June 2021 murder of his wife Maggie and son Paul.
Fleming admitted to helping Murdaugh steal the money intended for the sons of his housekeeper Gloria Satterfield, who died at Murduagh’s home in February 2018 aged 57.
Cory Fleming is pictured Thursday arriving in court in Charleston with his wife Eve
Alex Murdaugh, also 54, is seen leaving court on March 3 after being sentenced to life in June 2021 for the murder of his wife and son
Gloria Satterfield died in February 2018, aged 57. Her sons were entitled to an insurance payment, but Murdaugh stole it, with Fleming’s help.
The Murdaughs said their housekeeper of more than 30 years tripped over their dogs and died in the fall — though Alex Murdaugh recently changed his story to say he’s not responsible.
Nautilus is suing Murdaugh for $3.8 million – the amount they say should have gone to the Satterfields but didn’t because it was stolen.
The Satterfield family received money from six parties last year, not counting Alex Murdaugh.
On Thursday, Fleming admitted helping Murdaugh steal the life insurance policies of Satterfield’s sons, Tony and Brian, who were not told they were entitled to any payout.
Fleming and Murdaugh devised a complex scheme, where Murdaugh persuaded Tony and Brian Satterfield to hire Fleming to represent them and file a claim against Murdaugh to collect on his homeowner’s insurance policy.
Murdaugh had insurance for his property through Lloyd’s of London and Nautilus Insurance Group.
The pair then set up a series of bogus accounts and siphoned off the payout, then produced fake distribution sheets to get the payout approved by a judge.
Tony Satterfield, one of Gloria Satterfield’s two sons, never knew he was entitled to the money
Tony Satterfield is seen with his mother, Gloria. The Murdaughs initially said she died after tripping over their dogs: now Alex Murdaugh denies they were responsible for her death
Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were shot dead in June 2021. Gloria Satterfield died in the home in February 2018
The misappropriation of Satterfield’s estate was first revealed in early fall 2021 in a lawsuit brought by attorneys Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter, who represented Satterfield’s sons.
Fleming was unaware of Murdaugh’s numerous other criminal schemes to defraud others, the case said.
In November, another childhood friend — Russell Laffitte, former CEO of the Palmetto State Bank — was found guilty in federal court of using his bank to help Murdaugh steal money from clients who had received payouts in personal injury cases.
Murdaugh on Wednesday indicted in a sweeping federal fraud charge, which included both the insurance scheme defraud and allegations that he had defrauded his partners and other clients for 16 years.
Murdaugh has been charged in a sweeping federal indictment outlining three separate schemes the disgraced South Carolina attorney allegedly used to steal money and property from his personal injury clients
The 22-count indictment unsealed Wednesday outlines three separate schemes the disgraced South Carolina attorney allegedly used to steal money and property from his personal injury clients.
If Murdaugh is convicted on all counts in the new indictment, including bank fraud, bank fraud and money laundering charges, he could face a total of up to 480 years in prison and fines of up to nearly $13 million.
In a statement to DailyMail.com, Murdaugh’s attorneys, Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin, said their client “co-operated with the U.S. law firm and federal agencies in their investigations into a wide range of activities.”
“We expect the charges filed today to be resolved quickly without trial,” the lawyers added, suggesting a plea deal in the case is imminent.
Prosecutors said he stole millions of dollars from clients and partners, and that he was teetering on a financial rampage, which led to his fatally shooting his 22-year-old son, Paul, and 52-year-old wife, Maggie, at their Colleton County hunting cabin .
“Trust in our justice system begins with trust in its attorneys,” U.S. Attorney Adair F. Boroughs said in a statement.
“South Carolinans turn to lawyers when they are most vulnerable, and in our state those who abuse public trust and enrich themselves through fraud, theft and self-dealing will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said . added.