By LAUREN SILVER
CHARLESTON, S.C. (Court TV) – A South Carolina man pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court on charges he conspired with disgraced attorney Alex Murdaugh to commit wire fraud.
Alex Murdaugh, who was convicted in the shooting deaths of his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, earlier this year, is accused of defrauding the estate of his former housekeeper, Gloria Satterfield. Cory Fleming, 54, a former personal injury and defense attorney, was accused of conspiring with Murdaugh in the case.
Gloria Satterfield, who had worked for years as the Murdaugh’s housekeeper, died after an incident at the family’s home in 2018. At the time, Murdaugh said his family dogs caused Satterfield to fall, causing injuries that resulted in her death weeks later. In documents filed earlier this month, Murdaugh admitted he made up the story about his dogs causing the fall.
Prosecutors alleged that after Satterfield’s death, he recommended that her estate hire Fleming to represent them and to file a claim against Murdaugh to collect money from his homeowner’s insurance. The claims were filed and settled for a total of $4,305,000.
Investigators said Murdaugh and Fleming siphoned money from the settlement, which they disguised as “prosecution expenses.” Prosecutors also said that Fleming had checks drafted from the settlement money that was held in his trust account to his personal account, while fraudulently claiming the money was to pay for “expenses” related to the estate’s claim.
Fleming entered a guilty plea on Thursday and will be sentenced at a later date. He faces a maximum penalty of up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 when he is sentenced.
Fleming appeared in court to plead guilty one day after federal prosecutors charged Murdaugh with 22 financial crimes, which include stealing money from the Satterfield family.