Satterfield attorneys: Documents show over $3M of death settlement funds diverted to Murdaugh shell account

U.S. & World News

HAMPTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Attorneys for the Satterfield family recently released documents which they say prove Alex Murdaugh was the mastermind behind defrauding the rightful heirs of a multi-million dollar wrongful death settlement.

The 69-page motion names Alex Murdaugh, Chad Westendorf, Palmetto State Bank, Cory Fleming, and Moss, Kuhn, and Fleming P.A. The following is an interpretation of events and evidence by the Satterfield family attorneys.

Gloria Satterfield, who served as the Murdaugh family housekeeper for decades, died in 2018 after a reported trip and fall accident at the Murdaugh home. Alex Murdaugh told Satterfield’s two sons — Tony and Brian – that he would help guide them through the situation and ensure their financial stability.

Muraugh instructed them to hire Fleming so that they could sue Murdaugh for insurance money. The boys followed instructions, not knowing that Fleming and Murdaugh had a longstanding personal relationship. At no point did Murdaugh or Fleming disclose their relationship.

The suit states that “in the fall of 2018, Fleming advised Tony and Brian that they would be better served if Tony ceased his role as Personal Representative of his mother’s estate and that the role be entrusted to the Vice President of Palmetto State Bank, Chad Westendorf, as there would be ‘business issues’ arising as the matter proceeded that were beyond Tony’s experience.” Having no reason to doubt the expertise or intentions of Fleming, they once again followed directions and named Westendorf as the Personal Representative of the estate.

On December 19, 2018, Westendorf filed a petition for a partial wrongful death settlement for $505,000 “wile reserving the right to pursue ‘additional insurance coverage.'” That was the only properly filed legal document until the dismissal agreement in 2020.

Although there was no signed document approving that settlement filed with the court, on January 7, 2019, Fleming received a $505,000 check from one of the companies with which Murdaugh held an insurance policy, Lloyd’s Underwriters.

That same day, Fleming wrote a check for $403,500 to ‘Forge,’ a shell account that Murdaugh set up to funnel funds he was siphoning from his own former law firm, according to Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth, and Detrick (PMPED).

Over the next two years, Fleming and Westendorf negotiated a payout of over $4 million from the two companies with which Murdaugh held insurance — Lloyd’s Underwriters and Nautilus Insurance Company. However, none of the associated documents were officially filed in court. Instead, the documents were approved by Judge Carmen Mullen, who previously recused herself from presiding over a separate Murdaugh case.

Mullen apparently approved the final multi-million dollar settlement which directed $2.765 million to the beneficiaries of the Satterfield estate on May 13, 2019. That same day, Fleming wrote another check to Forge for $2.9 million.

On October 5, 2020, Mullen oversaw the dismissal of the settlement, with both parties agreeing that they had come to a resolution.

On October 6, 2020, Fleming wrote a check to Forge for $168,000.

To date, the Satterfield family has not received any of the funds from the wrongful death settlements. Bland says Westendorf returned his Personal Representation fee of $30,000 to the Estate of Gloria Satterfield on Tuesday. Fleming and his law firm have agreed to pay back all fees owed, and the law firm’s malpractice insurance is paying out its maximum allotment.

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