Judge Accepts Alex Murdaugh's Guilty Plea to 22 Financial Crimes: 'Abuse the Public's Trust'

Monday’s plea deal states Murdaugh will have to agree to a polygraph if required, and failing it will nullify the agreement

Chris Carlson/AP/Shutterstock
Chris Carlson/AP/Shutterstock

A judge has accepted a guilty plea from disgraced South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh on charges of fraud and money laundering, according to ABC News 4 and The Associated Press.

One of Murdaugh’s lawyers, Jim Griffin, filed a plea agreement — which was made public by ABC News 4 — in federal court on Monday. In the agreement, Murdaugh agreed to enter a guilty plea for 22 charges, including wire and bank fraud and money laundering.

This week's plea agreement comes after ABC News 4 reported in May that Murdaugh had pleaded not guilty to the same charges. PEOPLE has reached out to his lawyers for further comments.

“I want to take responsibility," Murdaugh said in court on Thursday, The Associated Press reports. "I want my son to see me take responsibility. It’s my hope that by taking responsibility that the people I’ve hurt can begin to heal.” 

Related: Everything to Know About the Murdaugh Family Murders, Including Alex's Conviction

The 22-count federal indictment issued in May includes charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, money laundering, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, bank fraud and more. Some of the charges are punishable by maximum sentences of up to 30 years, as well as fines that could total to millions of dollars.

“South Carolinians turn to lawyers when they are at their most vulnerable, and in our state, those who abuse the public’s trust and enrich themselves by fraud, theft, and self-dealing will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of South Carolina said in a May statement regarding the indictment.

It also states that Murdaugh “engaged in three different schemes” to get money and property from his clients who were working with him on personal injury cases.

He did this in numerous ways, including by crafting fraudulent “expenses” that were not related to the clients’ cases, and interfering with insurance proceedings to divert payments from beneficiaries to his personal account, the statement said. 

One of the explosive examples of this was claims from his housekeeper’s sons, who have said that they never received an insurance payout with regards to their mother’s death.

Monday’s plea deal states, among other conditions, that Murdaugh will have to comply to any request from the government for a polygraph test, and if he refuses the test or fails it, it would nullify the agreement.

It was also announced on Thursday that Murdaugh is required to assist the government in recovering and tracing “all money, assets, accounts,” ABC News 4 reports.

The agreement further states that if Murdaugh cooperates with the conditions of the deal, "Attorneys for the Government agree to recommend to the Court that the sentence imposed on these charges be served concurrent to any state sentence imposed for the same conduct."

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On March 2, 2023, he was found guilty of murdering his wife Maggie Murdaugh, 52, and son Paul Murdaugh, 22, in June 2021 at the family’s 1,770-acre Islandton, S.C., home.

Maggie Murdaugh Facebook Maggie Murdaugh; Paul Murdaugh
Maggie Murdaugh Facebook Maggie Murdaugh; Paul Murdaugh

Related: Alex Murdaugh Found Guilty of Murdering His Wife and Son

Later that month, the disbarred lawyer was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences in prison for their deaths. At the time, it was reported that he faced federal charges in other states involving more than 100 cases related to fraud, as stated by multiple outlets, including CNN.

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