A college friend of convicted murderer Alex Murdaugh is facing up to five years in prison after he pled guilty to helping him steal nearly $4 million in insurance intended for the sons of Murdaugh’s late housekeeper.
Cory Fleming, a 54-year-old criminal defense lawyer, appeared in court in Charleston, South Carolina on Thursday.
Presiding over the proceedings, federal Judge Richard Gergel noted that it was highly unusual to have such an eminent local personality stood before him.
Fleming and Murdaugh, also 54, studied together at the University of South Carolina School of Law and remained close friends.
Murdaugh in March was sentenced to life in prison for murdering his wife Maggie and son Paul in June 2021.
Fleming admitted that he helped Murdaugh steal the cash intended for the sons of his housekeeper Gloria Satterfield, who died at Murduagh’s house in February 2018, age 57.
Cory Fleming is pictured on Thursday arriving in court in Charleston with his wife Eve
Alex Murdaugh, also 54, is seen on March 3 leaving court after being sentenced to life for killing his wife and son in June 2021
Gloria Satterfield died in February 2018, age 57. Her sons were entitled to an insurance payout, but Murdaugh stole it, with the assistance of Fleming
The Murdaughs said their housekeeper of over 30 years tripped over their dogs and died in the fall – although Alex Murdaugh has recently changed his story, to say he is not responsible.
Nautilus is suing Murdaugh for $3.8 million – the amount they say should have gone to the Satterfields, but didn’t because it was stolen.
The Satterfield family received some money last year they were owed from six parties, not including Alex Murdaugh.
On Thursday, Fleming admitted to helping Murdaugh steal the life insurance cash from Satterfield’s sons, Tony and Brian, who were not told that they were entitled to any payout.
Fleming and Murdaugh concocted a complex plan, which saw Murdaugh persuade Tony and Brian Satterfield to hire Fleming to represent them and submit a claim against Murdaugh to collect from his homeowner’s insurance policy.
Murdaugh had insurance on his property through Lloyd’s of London and Nautilus Insurance Group.
The pair then set up a series of fake accounts and siphoned off the payout, and then produced fake distribution sheets to get the payout approved by a judge.
Tony Satterfield, one of Gloria Satterfield’s two sons, never knew he was entitled to the money
Tony Satterfield is seen with his mother, Gloria. The Murdaughs initially said she died after tripping over their dogs: now Alex Murdaugh denies they were to blame for her death
Maggie and Paul Murdaugh were shot dead in June 2021. Gloria Satterfield died at the house in February 2018
The embezzlement of Satterfield’s estate was first revealed in the early fall of 2021 in a lawsuit brought by attorneys Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter, who represented Satterfield’s sons.
Fleming had no knowledge of Murdaugh’s numerous other criminal schemes to defraud others, the case said.
In November, another childhood friend – former Palmetto State Bank CEO Russell Laffitte – was found guilty in federal court of using his bank to help Murdaugh steal money from clients who had received payouts in personal injury cases.
Murdaugh on Wednesday was charged in a sweeping federal fraud indictment, which encompassed both the swindling of the insurance settlement and also allegations he defrauded his partners and other clients for 16 years.
Murdaugh has been charged in a sweeping federal indictment outlining three separate schemes the disgraced South Carolina attorney allegedly used to steal money and property from his personal injury clients
The 22-count indictment unsealed on Wednesday outlines three separate schemes the disgraced South Carolina attorney allegedly used to steal money and property from his personal injury clients.
If convicted on all counts in the new indictment, which includes charges of bank fraud, wire fraud, and money laundering, Murdaugh would face a total of up to 480 years in prison and fines of up to nearly $13 million.
In a statement to DailyMail.com, Murdaugh’s attorneys Dick Harpootlian and Jim Griffin said their client ‘has been cooperating with the United States Attorneys’ Office and federal agencies in their investigation of a broad range of activities.’
‘We anticipate that the charges brought today will be quickly resolved without a trial,’ the lawyers added, suggesting a plea deal in the case is imminent.
Prosecutors said he stole millions of dollars from clients and partners, and found himself teetering on financial disaster, which led him to fatally shoot his 22-year-old son, Paul, and 52-year-old wife, Maggie, at their Colleton County hunting lodge.
‘Trust in our legal system begins with trust in its lawyers,’ said US Attorney Adair F. Boroughs in a statement.
‘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,’ he added.