HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – The web of crimes allegedly involving a powerful former Hampton County lawyer appears to reach as far as Mexico.
In a lawsuit filed October 7, Manuel Santiz-Cristiani of Chipas, Mexico claimed that he was swindled by Alex Murdaugh and his associates.
The allegations mirror dozens of others for which Murdaugh has been indicted, and many to which he has already confessed: Murdaugh represented the victim in a personal injury case and stole funds from the victim’s settlement.
According to the suit, Santiz-Cristiani was in Colleton County in November of 2008 when he got into a serious car crash. The crash was due to a faulty tire, which separated from the tread causing the car to flip. Murdaugh, under his former lawfirm Peters, Murdaugh, Eltzroth, and Detrick (PMPED), represented Santiz-Cristiani.
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Other PMPED lawyers, Ronnie Crosby and William Barnes III, worked on the case and are named in the suit.
Former Palmetto State Bank CEO Russell Laffitte, who has been indicted alongside Murdaugh for a slew of other financial crimes, is also a defendant.
The suit alleges that PMPED negotiated a settlement for an undisclosed amount of money on Santiz-Cristiani’s behalf, but he was never informed of the settlement. He was also not told that the suit was being dismissed following the settlement.
Santiz-Critiani claimed that he never received any funds from the settlement. Rather, the funds were deposited into Palmetto State Bank.
He is now suing Murdaugh, Crosby, Barnes, Laffitte, Palmetto State Bank, and PMPED for allegedly failing to properly handle the funds.