South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh paid an ex-client more than $155,000 from a fake account in the months leading up to the unsolved murders of his son and wife, according to recently-obtained bank checks and documents.
Murdaugh, 53, is facing criminal charges for hiring his former client, Curtis Smith, 61, to fatally shoot him in September so his surviving son would receive a $10 million life insurance payout. Murdaugh survived, and the pair were criminally charged days later.
Since then, The State has acquired notations of checks showing that Murdaugh paid $155,970 in cashier checks to Smith. The checks were reportedly cashed in Hampton and Beaufort counties between October 2020 to May 2021.
Murdaugh allegedly wrote 17 cashier checks to Smith in an eight-month span. The copies indicated that the checks that were issued by Murdaugh and intended for Smith — as they were endorsed by Smith’s signature.
Sources told The State that the cashier checks only reflect eight months of activity from one of Murdaugh’s accounts, even though the disgraced lawyer has more than one checking account. As a result, it is unclear whether Murdaugh paid out more money to Smith using another bank account.
Further, the money allegedly given to Smith came from Murdaugh’s Bank of America “forge” account which authorities have noted in various legal proceedings involving the lawyer.
As The State reports, all but two of the checks were for amounts totaling $8,000 and $9,000. Checks exceeding $10,000 are subject to increased scrutiny by bank officials and police.
Smith’s lawyers told The State that, as of Wednesday, they have not spoken to Smith about these checks, meaning it is unclear why Murdaugh was paying Smith, or what Smith did with the large sums of money.
The last and largest check was for $22,109 and was dated May 28 — which is 10 days before Murdaugh’s wife and son, Maggie and Paul, 52 and 22, were found fatally shot on their 1,770-acre lodge in Colleton County.
No arrests have been made in connection with the June 7 double homicide.
Murdaugh was free on bond for the alleged suicide-for-hire plot when he was arrested again on October 14 for obtaining property by false pretenses. In that case, he was accused of stealing $4.3 million from his late housekeeper’s estate. The housekeeper suffered a fatal fall on Murdaugh’s property in February 2018; her estate included substantial payouts for a wrongful death settlement.
Murdaugh remains jailed without bond.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast. Listen to a related episode:
Join Nancy Grace for her new online video series designed to help you protect what you love most — your children.
[Featured image: Curtis Smith and Alex Murdaugh/Hampton County Sheriff’s Office]