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Attorney who handled wrongful death lawsuit of Alex Murdaugh’s housekeeper has law license suspended

The South Carolina Supreme Court on Friday suspended the law license of disgraced lawyer Alex Murdaugh’s old college buddy – who handled the wrongful death lawsuit of Murdaugh’s longtime housekeeper.

Lawyer Cory Fleming represented Gloria Satterfield’s family but allegedly never handed over more than $4 million in settlement funds to the woman’s children, Tony Satterfield and Brian Harriot, after reaching a deal with Murdaugh. 

Fleming was sued in September – along with Murdaugh and Chad Westendorf, the vice president of Palmetto State Bank – for breaching fiduciary duty and civil conspiracy.

Murdaugh, who came into the national spotlight this year when he found his wife and youngest son shot to death in the yet-to-be-resolved case, is currently in jail after allegedly hiring a hit man to shoot him in the head to collect insurance money. 

Satterfield’s children are now being represented by attorneys Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter, who said that Murdaugh referred his ‘best friend and college roommate’ to Tony and Brian, according to Live 5 News

Last week, the attorneys announced they had reached a settlement between the Satterfield’s estate, Fleming and the insurance carrier connected to the suit. The details of the court documents were not immediately known. 

‘The settlement was reached less than one month after Mr Fleming first learned that the settlement funds recovered for Ms Satterfield’s sons and her estate had been stolen by Alex Murdaugh,’ Bland and Richter, noting that Fleming even ‘negotiated substantial settlements with Mr Murdaugh’s insurance carriers and reduced his fee by 50 percent to increase the net recovery for Ms Satterfield’s sons and her estate’. 

Cory Fleming (pictured), an old college buddy of disgraced lawyer Alex Murdaugh, had his law license suspended on Friday until further notice

Palmetto State Bank banker Chad Westendorf (pictured) who became the personal representative of the Satterfield estate

Fleming was named in the lawsuit, which was filed on September 15 by Satterfield's estate, along with Murdaugh (pictured) and Chad Westendorf

Fleming was named in the lawsuit, which was filed on September 15 by Satterfield’s estate, along with Murdaugh and Chad Westendorf, the vice president of Palmetto State Bank, who became the personal representative of the Satterfield estate 

‘Mr Fleming stepped forward and did the right thing by the Estate. Mr Fleming and his law firm maintain, they – like others – were victims of Alex Murdaugh’s fraudulent scheme,’ Bland and Richter said in a statement.

‘Fleming and his law firm are personally repaying all legal fees and expenses they received, and the firm’s malpractice insurance carrier is paying the full limits of its policy.

‘Fleming acknowledges that material mistakes were made by him at crucial times throughout this matter and sincerely apologizes to Ms Satterfield’s sons for everything they have been through and that they did not receive their rightful monies from the death of their mother’.

‘Mr Fleming states he would never knowingly jeopardize client funds or put a personal or professional relationship above his professional responsibilities. Until early September 2021, he sincerely believed that the settlement funds had been properly disbursed,’ it added.

Earlier this week, Murdaugh was accused of swiping millions of dollars from his law firm – Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick (PMPED) – according to a separate lawsuit filed against Murdaugh by his ex-partners. 

Murdaugh allegedly used fake bank accounts to siphon funds for years from PMPED and its clients.

He resigned last month at the request of the firm, which his great-grandfather founded in 1910, after a statement released by PMPED said Murdaugh ‘lied and he stole from us’.   

His resignation came one day before he was arrested last month after he allegedly faked a drive-by shooting.  Murdaugh was shot in the head along a remote road in Hampton County on September 4 and was airlifted to hospital where he survived after suffering only superficial injuries.

He checked himself into rehab days later for opioid addiction and resigned from PMPED in shame over allegations of embezzling millions to pay for his addiction.

The suit alleged that Gloria Satterfield's (pictured) sons Tony Satterfield and Brian Harriot never received more than $4million in settlement funds, which they were promised in an agreement made between their attorney Fleming and Murdaugh. Satterfield died aged 57 after a 'trip and fall' accident in the Murdaugh home, where she worked as a housekeeper for around 25 years

The suit alleged that Gloria Satterfield’s (pictured) sons Tony Satterfield and Brian Harriot never received more than $4million in settlement funds, which they were promised in an agreement made between their attorney Fleming and Murdaugh. Satterfield died aged 57 after a ‘trip and fall’ accident in the Murdaugh home, where she worked as a housekeeper for around 25 years

Satterfield's children are now being represented by attorneys Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter, who released a statement saying that 'Fleming and his law firm maintain, they—like others—were victims of Alex Murdaugh’s (pictured in court last month) fraudulent scheme'

Satterfield’s children are now being represented by attorneys Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter, who released a statement saying that ‘Fleming and his law firm maintain, they—like others—were victims of Alex Murdaugh’s (pictured in court last month) fraudulent scheme’ 

Satterfield's children are now being represented by attorneys Eric Bland (pictured) and Ronnie Richter

Bland and Richter (pictured) said in a statement that 'Fleming and his law firm maintain, they—like others—were victims of Alex Murdaugh’s fraudulent scheme'

Satterfield’s children are now being represented by attorneys Eric Bland (left) and Ronnie Richter (right), who said in a statement that ‘Fleming and his law firm maintain, they—like others—were victims of Alex Murdaugh’s fraudulent scheme’ 

Just yesterday it was revealed that Murdaugh set up a fake firm called Forge to syphon off $3.5million of the $4.3million settlement money meant for his housekeeper, 57, who was mysteriously killed at his home after a ‘trip and fall’ accident, according to new legal documents.

A motion filed Tuesday by attorneys for Satterfield’s family provides new details of how two large payouts from two separate insurers were allegedly redirected to what was essentially a PO Box in Hampton, South Carolina, instead of making their way to Tony and Brian.

Also accused was Chad Westendorf, the vice president of Palmetto State Bank, who  Murdaugh encouraged Satterfield’s sons to hire to deal with ‘business matters’ he said would arise.  

On January 7, 2019, Fleming allegedly received a $505,000 check from Lloyd's Underwriters - one of the insurance firms Murdaugh had a policy with. The check is pictured above

On January 7, 2019, Fleming allegedly received a $505,000 check from Lloyd’s Underwriters – one of the insurance firms Murdaugh had a policy with. The check is pictured above

Fleming allegedly wrote a check for $403,500 to Murdaugh's shell account Forge (seen above) that same day

Fleming allegedly wrote a check for $403,500 to Murdaugh’s shell account Forge (seen above) that same day

In March 2019, Fleming then secured an additional settlement from Nautilus Insurance Company to the tune of $3.8million. The check was made payable to Westendorf as the estate representative and Fleming's law firm on April 18 (check seen above)

In March 2019, Fleming then secured an additional settlement from Nautilus Insurance Company to the tune of $3.8million. The check was made payable to Westendorf as the estate representative and Fleming’s law firm on April 18 (check seen above)

Murdaugh, Fleming and Westendorf have been accused of negotiating $4.3million in payouts from Lloyd’s Underwriters and Nautilus Insurance Company – two insurance companies with which Murdaugh held policies.

They then allegedly sent more than $3.5million of the funds to Murdaugh’s shell company Forge and Satterfield’s sons were supposedly kept in the dark. They were not included in discussions about the settlements nor were they invited to court meetings or any mediations.

They also didn’t receive a dime of the settlement, court documents said.

The settlements were approved in court by Judge Carmen Mullen (above) who the documents also say was 'misled' by the alleged fraudsters

The settlements were approved in court by Judge Carmen Mullen (above) who the documents also say was ‘misled’ by the alleged fraudsters

According to the 69-page motion, Westendorf was appointed as the new personal representative of Satterfield’s estate on December 18, 2018 – replacing her son Tony.

The very next day Fleming filed a petition to get court permission to access a partial settlement in the wrongful death suit for $505,000 while reserving the right to pursue ‘additional insurance coverage that is applicable to this matter’.

Satterfield’s sons believed this settlement was agreed on prior to the change in hands between Tony and Westendorf.

A check for this settlement was dated for December 4, 2018 – two weeks prior to Westendorf’s appointment. 

The partial settlement was then approved by Judge Carmen Mullen but the sons claim they were never told anything about it.

On January 7, 2019 Fleming then allegedly received a $505,000 check from Lloyd’s Underwriters – the same day Fleming allegedly wrote a check for $403,500 to Murdaugh’s shell account Forge.

According to the suit, a company in Atlanta, Georgia, shares this name however this check was sent to a PO Box address in Hampton, South Carolina, at Murdaugh’s request. 

Minus legal fees and expenses, Satterfield's family were entitled to $2.765million in a settlement which was approved by Judge Mullen on May 13. The check above reveals Fleming sent a check for $2.96million to Forge that day

Minus legal fees and expenses, Satterfield’s family were entitled to $2.765million in a settlement which was approved by Judge Mullen on May 13. The check above reveals Fleming sent a check for $2.96million to Forge that day

On October 5, 2020, Fleming and Murdaugh filed for a dismissal of the settlement which Mullen approved - on the basis that an agreement had been reached by all parties. The next day - October 6 - Fleming wrote a check to Forge for $168,000 (above)

On October 5, 2020, Fleming and Murdaugh filed for a dismissal of the settlement which Mullen approved – on the basis that an agreement had been reached by all parties. The next day – October 6 – Fleming wrote a check to Forge for $168,000 (above)

Two months later, in March 2019, Fleming secured an additional settlement from Nautilus Insurance Company to the tune of $3.8million – which Satterfield’s sons again claimed they had no knowledge of.

Westendorf signed a conditional release which stipulated that the funds would be paid directly to him in April 2019.

Documents included in the motion revealed that the check was made payable to Westendorf as the estate representative and Fleming’s law firm on April 18. In total, the two insurance companies had paid out $4.305million.

Minus legal fees and expenses, Satterfield’s family was entitled to $2.765million in a settlement which was approved by Judge Mullen on May 13.  

A check submitted with the motion revealed Fleming sent yet another check for $2.96million to Forge that very same day.

Then, on October 5, 2020, Fleming and Murdaugh filed for a dismissal of the settlement, which Mullen approved on the basis that an agreement had been reached by all parties.

The next day – October 6 – Fleming wrote a check to Forge for $168,000 and paid himself $666,000 in legal fees.

He was awarded $1.435million in fees – $168,333 in the Lloyd’s payout and $1.27million in the Nautilus deal – but allegedly paid the remainder to Murdaugh.

Westendorf did not appear to pay himself for his involvement. Rather he ‘allowed all of the settlement proceeds to be misapplied by Fleming and Murdaugh’.

The settlement statement signed by Westendorf also listed prosecution expenses of $105,000 deducted from the $4.3million total package but it is not clear where this money went.

The motion did not suggest Mullen was involved in the scheme.

The judge took part in two meetings with the alleged fraudsters where she approved the settlements.

Murdaugh (pictured at his bond hearing in September), Fleming and Westendorf ‘lied to the court’ and Satterfield’s sons were unaware of any settlement being reached. The motion also suggested that Mullen was not involved in the scheme

The Murdaugh saga all began back on June 7 when Maggie (right) and Paul (left) were found shot dead

The Murdaugh saga all began back on June 7 when Maggie (right) and Paul (left) were found shot dead 

The court documents claimed Mullen was ‘misled’ to believe Satterfield’s sons were aware of the settlements and that the money would be distributed in accordance with the information presented to her.

She ‘had no reason not to trust’ Fleming and Murdaugh, who she had worked with in the past, while Satterfield told her ‘he agreed with the settlement after carefully considering all of the facts of circumstances of the claims’, the documents stated. 

Yet Murdaugh, Fleming and Westendorf ‘lied to the court’ and the sons were unaware of any settlement being reached. Further, none of the settlement approvals were properly filed through the Hampton County Clerk of Court, the documents claimed.

The new motion calls on Murdaugh, Fleming and Westendorf to testify under oath about their handling of the wrongful death settlement. 

Meanwhile, Westendorf returned his Personal Representation fee of $30,000 to the Satterfield estate Tuesday.  

The damming accusations – and the checks included in the motion – provided the most detailed account to date of the alleged scheme to defraud the Satterfield family out of the wrongful death suit.

Satterfield had been the Murdaugh housekeeper and nanny for around 25 years when she died following a mystery ‘trip and fall’ inside the Murdaugh family home back in February 2018.

The complaint alleged that Murdaugh, Fleming and Westendorf then defrauded the family out of a $4.3million wrongful death settlement – which they said they had not received a dime of.  

Last month the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) also launched a criminal investigation into Satterfield’s mystery death, which was not reported to the coroner at the time and no autopsy was carried out.

The death certificate cited the manner of death as ‘natural’ – something that was inconsistent the information documented in the wrongful death suit, which said she died as a ‘result of injuries sustained in a trip and fall accident, in Hampton County’. 

Family murders, deaths, drug addictions, thefts and arrests: The riddles facing investigators who’ve now charged Alex Murdaugh 

2015: Teenager Stephen Smith dies

Smith was found on the side of the road

Cops investigating the double murder have also reopened the case into a 2015 hit-and-run of teen Stephen Smith (above)

Cops investigating the double murder have also reopened the case into a 2015 hit-and-run of teen Stephen Smith 

Police officially rule his death a hit-and-run but he had suffered blunt force trauma to the head 

His mother has since shared her belief that she thinks he was killed in a hate-crime because he was gay 

Case notes obtained by DailyMail.com revealed Paul’s older brother Buster was named multiple times in the investigation

Police wanted to know more about his relationship with Stephen 

Stephen’s mother said he had been having a ‘fling’

In a deposition years later, one of Paul’s friends said the family had ‘covered’ other killings up

He mentioned Smith’s death  

2018: Murdaugh family housekeeper Gloria Satterfield dies

Murdaugh family housekeeper Gloria Sattlerfield died aged 57

Murdaugh family housekeeper Gloria Sattlerfield died aged 57

Gloria died after ‘falling’ down the stairs in the family house

The family gave her family $500.000 in a wrongful death settlement but it’s unclear why her death was ruled to be their fault

Alex Murdaugh was listed as the defendant in the lawsuit

Satterfield was only 57 when she died

She left behind a husband and children

Her death was also mentioned in the deposition by Paul Murdaugh’s friend  

2019: Mallory Beach dies being thrown from boat driven by Paul Murdaugh

Mallory Beach, 19, died in February 2019

Mallory Beach, 19, died in February 2019 

Paul was charged afterwards because he’d been drinking and was behaving ‘belligerently’ that night

He had been released on bond

Other kids were on the boat but were unharmed.

One testified that they were scared to speak about the Murdaugh family because they knew how to ‘cover things up’

That boy named Stephen Smith and the housekeeper, and claimed Paul pushed her 

June 7 2021: Paul and Maggie are murdered 

The mom and son were found shot dead at the family home in Hampton, South Carolina

Alex Murdaugh says he found them at the home

The medical examiner said the pair had been dead for an hour at most when he discovered them

Paul, 22

Margaret, 52

Alex’s son Paul (left), 22, and wife Maggie (right), 52, were found dead from multiple gunshot wounds on June 7 at the family hunting lodge 

Alex's father Randolph Murdaugh III died 'peacefully' at home three days after Maggie and Paul were found shot dead

Alex’s father Randolph Murdaugh III died ‘peacefully’ at home three days after Maggie and Paul were found shot dead 

June 10 2021:  Alex’s 81-year-old father Randolph Murdaugh III dies ‘naturally’ and ‘peacefully’ at home

September 3: Alex resigns from his law firm amid claims he misused funds

The firm has hired a forensic investigator to go through the accounts 

September 4: Alex calls 911 claiming he’s been shot in the head in a drive-by. 

He only had ‘surface’ wounds and was also able to call his brother

September 6: Alex resigns from his law firm

The South Carolina legal scion releases a statement confirming his resignation from the firm and announcing he has entered rehab 

He said: ‘I’m resigning from my law firm and entering rehab after a long battle that has been exacerbated these murders’ 

September 16: Alex turns himself into police over insurance fraud scheme

Murdaugh handed himself over to cops in connection to insurance fraud scheme where he arranged his own killing so that his surviving son could collect $10million payout.

He faces charges of insurance fraud, conspiracy to commit insurance fraud and filing a false police report.  


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