Alex Murdaugh charged in money laundering and drug scheme

Jun 29, 2022, 5:30 PM | Updated: 6:01 pm
Curtis Edward Smith is escorted out of Richland County Bond court with his attorney, Jarrett Bouche...

Curtis Edward Smith is escorted out of Richland County Bond court with his attorney, Jarrett Bouchette, Tuesday June, 28, 2022, in Columbia, S.C. Smith is charged with two counts of conspiracy, four counts of money laundering, three counts of forgery and multiple drug related charges. (Tracy Glantz/The State via AP)

(Tracy Glantz/The State via AP)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Once prominent and soon-to-be disbarred South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh has been indicted again, this time prosecutors saying his crimes extended to an eight-year money laundering and painkiller ring with a friend and former client charged with trying to help him commit suicide.

Murdaugh wrote 437 checks worth $2.4 million that Curtis “Eddie” Smith cashed over eight years, keeping some of the money for himself and giving the rest for wide-ranging illegal activities, according to indictments handed up last week and unsealed Tuesday.

That illegal activity included a “distribution network” for the painkiller oxycodone, according to prosecutors, who did not specify any of the other possible crimes. Both men were charged with possessing, manufacturing or distributing narcotics, but court records did not provide additional details.

It’s the 16th indictment against Murdaugh on charges ranging from lying to police and trying to arrange his own death to stealing money from clients to arranging a $4.3 million in wrongful death settlements for a housekeeper who died in a fall at his home, then not giving her family a dime.

But still unsolved are the shooting deaths of Murdaugh’s wife and younger son outside their home in June 2021. Their killings are not referenced in any of the new indictments and both Murdaugh and Smith have adamantly said they had nothing to do with them.

Murdaugh and Smith started laundering more money and stopped taking precautions to avoid detection about three months before the killings, said Creighton Waters, the chief of the state Attorney General Office’s State Grand Jury Division.

Waters did not give any more details at Smith’s bond hearing Tuesday.

Murdaugh is also awaiting a formal order revoking his law license. He decided to not fight the state Supreme Court’s decision last week, which ends the legal career of a member of a prominent family that has dominated the legal scene in tiny Hampton County for nearly a century. Murdaugh’s father, grandfather and great-grandfather were the area’s elected prosecutors for 87 years straight.

Murdaugh, 54, was charged in the latest indictments with criminal conspiracy and possessing, manufacturing or distributing narcotics.

Most of the indictments were against Smith, who met Murdaugh when he needed a lawyer for a worker’s compensation suit. After his law firm discovered he was stealing money, Smith is the man Murdaugh said he called when he wanted someone to kill him so his surviving son could collect a $10 million life insurance policy.

Smith’s shot only grazed Murdaugh’s head on the side of a two-lane road last September, police said. Both men were charged last year in that incident.

Smith, 61, now faces four counts of money laundering, three counts of forgery, possessing, manufacturing or distributing narcotics. trafficking in methamphetamine and other charges. Each money laundering charge on its own carries up to 20 years in prison.

At his bond hearing Tuesday, Smith told the judge he was pulled into the scheme not by his own choice and he looked forward to clearing his name. His bond was set at $250,000.

Smith’s lawyer said he is not sure his client can afford it.

“We’re just going to have to wait and let more facts come out,” Jarrett Bouchette said. “As we’ve seen over the last year or so, things have changed over time that weren’t what they initially appeared to be.”

The indictments said Murdaugh wrote almost all the checks for Smith for under $10,000 to avoid federal requirements that banks report large transactions.

Smith forged the names of both his daughter and his girlfriend over the eight years he handled Murdaugh’s checks, prosecutors said.

Smith is the third associate and friend of Murdaugh to face criminal charges. The state grand jury also has indicted another attorney and banker, saying they helped Murdaugh take money from clients.

In 81 indictments against Murdaugh, prosecutors say he stole at least $8.4 million. He also faces a growing numbe r of civil lawsuits.

Earlier this month, the anniversary of the June 7, 2021, deaths of Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie, 52, and son, Paul, 22, passed with no arrests and no additional information from the State Law Enforcement Division. Its agents have revealed little beyond the fact that the two were shot outside their Colleton County home and Murdaugh called 911, saying he discovered the bodies.

Murdaugh has said he was visiting his mother and ailing father when his wife and son were killed.

Murdaugh has been in jail since October on $7 million bond for the various financial charges.


Follow Jeffrey Collins on Twitter at

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Pallets of 155 mm shells ultimately bound for Ukraine are loaded by the 436th Aerial Port Sq...
Associated Press

US pledges $1 billion more rockets, other arms for Ukraine

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Biden administration said Monday it was shipping its biggest yet direct delivery of weapons to Ukraine as that country prepares for a potentially decisive counteroffensive in the south against Russia, sending $1 billion in rockets, ammunition and other material to Ukraine from Defense Department stockpiles. The new U.S. arms shipment would […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Viral video of Mississippi arrest sparks investigation

JACKSON, Miss (AP) — An incident involving a white Mississippi Highway Patrol officer and three Black men is under investigation after a viral video showed the officer putting a handcuffed man into a chokehold and wrestling him into a ditch. The video, captured on Friday in McComb by a man named Packer Lewis, sparked outrage […]
15 hours ago
United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams speaks during a news c...
Associated Press

Cambodian ambassador: Looted artworks are ‘souls’ of culture

NEW YORK (AP) — Cambodia’s ambassador to the United States said Monday that the transfer of 30 antiquities by U.S. law enforcement authorities to his country was a return of the “souls of our culture.” Ambassador Keo Chhea spoke at a ceremony where a 10th Century sculpture, “Skanda on a Peacock,” was among several works […]
15 hours ago
Associated Press

Nebraska won’t hold special legislative session on abortion

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts announced Monday that he will not call a special legislative session to try to enact a 12-week abortion ban because the measure doesn’t have enough votes to break a filibuster. Ricketts — a Republican who has said he wants to ban all abortions, even in cases of […]
15 hours ago
FILE - Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, of West Springfield, Mass., center right, charged with negligent homic...
Associated Press

Testimony ends in deadly motorcycle crash trial

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — A 2019 collision that killed seven members of a Marine motorcycle club would’ve happened even if the truck was in the middle of its lane because the lead biker was “headed in that direction,” a crash reconstruction expert said Monday on the final day of testimony in the truck driver’s trial. […]
15 hours ago
FILE - Attorney General Dana Nessel speaks during a news conference in Detroit, Thursday, Oct. 14, ...
Associated Press

In Michigan, election denial probe looms over critical races

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Matthew DePerno made his political reputation on loudly and repeatedly questioning the 2020 presidential election results. It gained him the fervor of Republican delegates and the endorsement of Donald Trump in his bid for attorney general. But now the political novice is accused of helping obtain improper access to voting machines […]
15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Carla Berg, MHS, Deputy Director, Public Health Services, Arizona Department of Health Services

Update your child’s vaccines before kindergarten

So, your little one starts kindergarten soon. How exciting! You still have a few months before the school year starts, so now’s the time to make sure students-to-be have the vaccines needed to stay safe as they head into a new chapter of life.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Alex Murdaugh charged in money laundering and drug scheme