HAMPTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Court documents filed in Hampton County provide some insight into the financial status of suspended attorney Alex Murdaugh dating back to 2015.
Court-appointed co-receivers over Murdaugh’s financial assets, attorneys John Lay and Peter McCoy Jr., are asking for a court-ordered response from Palmetto State Bank in regard to numerous lines of credit granted to Murdaugh despite him being in debt.
Murdaugh worked with Palmetto State Bank on a regular basis both personally and professionally through former Executives Chad Westendorf and Russell Laffitte. Laffitte’s family founded the bank and had served as its CEO during some of the alleged financial crimes against Murdaugh.
While reviewing bank records for Murdaugh, the receivers uncovered what they call “questionable banking activity” related to Murdaugh’s “checking accounts and timing of some of his loans,” according to the filing.
The first example from February of 2015 shows Murdaugh sought a line of credit secured by property he owned for $500,000. The filing says by May, Murdaugh had gone through the entire amount and had a negative checking account balance of $51,937. The credit amount was increased to $1,000,000.
Two years later in November of 2017, Murdaugh had a negative checking account balance for all but seven days of the month reaching $34,060.30 in debt at the lowest point. Murdaugh’s debt was covered by receiving two separate $60,000 payments from two of his family members. Murdaugh would receive a credit line advance a month later in December.
During February and March of 2018, the documents say Murdaugh was once again in debt, going weeks at a time with a negative balance of as much as $33,841.17.
The filing shows Murdaugh wrote a number of checks over three months during the summer of 2020 to Curtis Edward Smith, an alleged accomplice, and client of Murdaugh’s who is criminally charged for his role in Murdaugh’s botched suicide effort from Labor Day weekend, 2021. The checks came from Murdaugh’s Palmetto State Bank accounts totaling $152,155.87. Murdaugh would reach a negative balance of $53,302.22 despite depositing “significant” amounts from his million-dollar credit line.
The uncovering shows Murdaugh paid Smith more than two and a half million dollars between 2019 and 2021 which doesn’t include payments and amounts from prior years. Last summer, Murdaugh paid Smith $305,465.31 in multiple payments despite having a negative balance.
In July of 2021, Palmetto State Bank granted Murdaugh a $750,000 credit line, at the time he had a negative balance of $162,014.03.
The records show Murdaugh’s loans were routinely past due with late charges. In a testimony, Laffitte said past-due payments were discussed weekly. Loans over $25,000 were put on a list given to the bank’s board of directors monthly.
In the same testimony, Laffitte says Murdaugh’s accounts and financials were discussed “periodically” including whether or not Murdaugh intended to pay off his balance.
In response to the discovery, the receivership sent a subpoena to Palmetto State Bank seeking copies of board meeting minutes and information related to the process for seeking payment of outstanding loans.
The bank objected to the request through a letter, and the receivership is asking the court to order Palmetto State Bank to provide the information.