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Crime & Justice

Judge freezes Alex Murdaugh's money as lawsuits grow

A judge Tuesday ordered independent representatives to take over the finances of a prominent South Carolina lawyer whose wife and son were killed five months ago and has since found himself part of a half-dozen state investigations.

Judge Daniel Hall sided with an attorney suing Alex Murdaugh on behalf of the family of a 19-year-old woman killed in a crash on Murdaugh's boat which prosecutors said his late son was driving.

The family's lawsuit says Murdaugh is trying to hide millions of dollars they could possibly collect in their lawsuit and he could shift money between unknown accounts and potentially sell off property and a boat after he turned all his affairs over to his surviving son, Buster Murdaugh.

“They have refused from day one to give me any information," attorney Mark Tinsley said.

The receivers will review and catalog all of Murdaugh's assets and approve whether he can spend money. They will get part of any legal settlements or judgements against Murdaugh in the cases they are involved.

The judge told Tinsley to write an order and file it with his office.

A lawyer for Murdaugh argued he has not been found responsible in any civil suits since his wife and son were killed and has insurance to cover if he is required to pay damages.

Attorney John Tiller also argued at a Friday hearing that if Murdaugh loses control of his assets, that would open the door for similar things to happen in countless other cases if the person who sues thinks the defendant does not have enough insurance.

Alex Murdaugh remains in the Richland County jail without bond after being charged with stealing nearly $3 million in insurance payments meant for the sons of his housekeeper, who died in a 2018 fall in his home. His legal team did not immediately respond to a request to comment on Tuesday's ruling.

The lawyers for the housekeeper's family and a second teen who survived the boat crash have also sued Murdaugh and helped with getting the receivers. Those attorneys expect judges in their cases to allow them to use the independent monitors.

Murdaugh, 53, also faces criminal charges in a second case. He was first arrested Sept. 16 and was accused of trying to arrange his own death so his surviving son Buster could collect a $10 million life insurance policy. That same day, the father signed a power of attorney for all his affairs over to his son, according to court records.

Murdaugh insists he had nothing to do with the June deaths of his wife, Maggie, 52, and their son Paul, 22. Murdaugh said he returned to their rural Colleton County home to find them shot to death. Tight-lipped state police have neither named any suspects nor ruled anyone out.

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