Hampton County Attorney disgraced in January 2020 Alex Murdaugh wired more than $110,000 from his checking account to “personally fund” the purchase of a funeral home, hearse, limousine and three foreclosed properties in Brunswick, Georgia, according to court documents.
It is unclear whether this acquisition of Hall Jones and Brown Funeral Directors and his endowment were part of Murdaugh’s growing list of purported financial plans.
But a funeral home is an interesting choice for a personal injury attorney — especially for one who has been in prison since October 2021 and faces 75 counts of theft for more than 9 million dollars of customers.
A source with knowledge of the purchase speculated that Murdaugh may have been trying to round up more wrongful deaths for himself, telling FITSNews that such an idea would be “criminal-level genius.”
Murdaugh wired first $147,000 by Palmetto State Bank to Southeastern Bank of Darien, Georgia on behalf of John Martin from Martin’s Funeral Home in Estill, South Carolina.
According to the funeral home’s website, Martin’s also has a location in Braunschweig at the same address as the funeral home that Murdaugh bought in 2020.
The transfer request was signed off by Russell Laffittethe former CEO of Palmetto State Bank, who is currently under investigation for his apparent role in Murdaugh’s alleged schemes.
Also interesting: At the bottom of the note it says “OK per Blanca”.
Who is Blanca?
In recorded prison calls obtained by FITSNews earlier this year under the Freedom of Information Act, Murdaugh referred to a “Blanca” in a Nov. 30, 2021 conversation with his surviving son Buster.
Alex, who appeared to be acting behind bars, continued to urge a hesitant Buster to “call Blanca.”
At the time, sources told FITSNews that “Blanca” was the name of Maggie’s housekeeper at the Edisto home, where she lived alone before she and her son were murdered in June 2021.
However, FITSNews has since learned from a named Palmetto State Bank employee Blanca Carillo.
It’s unclear what connection she has to Murdaugh beyond the bank and if she is the “Blanca” referred to in the call.
In an email dated Jan. 7, 2020, Carillo wrote, “I spoke to Russell and verified the $147,000 amount and charged the account (redacted) via Alex Murdaugh.”
Nonetheless, this money was returned by the bank in Georgia and instructions were given to Martin:
“Per Jerrie McWilliams’ application, the Hall, Jones and Brown Funeral Home loan repayment as of 01/13/2020 is $110,231.15. The daily rate for the loan is $22.51.
The above payout includes the below mentioned properties:
2005 G. St., Braunschweig (undertakers)
3606 Franklin St., Brunswick
3808 Franklin St., Brunswick
1705 Tarpin Avenue, Brunswick
2004 Cadillac hearse
2006 Cadillac sedan”
A day later, according to court records, $110,253.76 was wired from Palmetto State Bank to Georgia Bank.
DON’T MISS A STORY…
This transfer form was again signed by Laffitte.
It’s unclear if that money was a loan to Martin, but court filings show that “a cursory review of Alex’s financial records does not indicate that John Martin repaid Alex.”
According to court records, the estates of Abram F. Brown Sr. and Lillie V. Brown of Glynn County, Georgia entered into an agreement with Martin on January 7, 2020.
Hall Jones and Brown Funeral Home was in default on its loan agreement with Southeastern Bank.
The bank advertised the property once a week in the Brunswick News for a month and announced its intention to sell it to the “highest and best bidder for cash” on the first Tuesday in January 2020.
It was sold to Martin for $147,000.
But Murdaugh paid most of the purchase price.
On Jan. 27, the attorneys hired by the court to comb through Murdaugh’s finances sent Martin a subpoena asking for “all documents in your possession relating to the transaction referred to … including but.” not limited to any correspondence, text messages or emails.”
Martin did not respond to the subpoena or a follow-up letter dated March 18, which gave him an additional 10 days to respond before a motion would be filed with the court.
Tuesday afternoon, lawyers Amy LB Hill and Jordan M. Crapps by Gallivan, White and Boyd – the co-beneficiary’s law firm John T. lay — submitted a request to force Martin to produce the requested documents.
The co-recipients are tasked with accounting for every penny they belong to Murdaugh while a long chain of creditors forms.
Murdaugh is the defendant in at least nine trials to date. In late March, Murdaugh admitted to stealing $4.3 million by the surviving family of Gloria Satterfield, who was his sons’ longtime nanny before she died in 2018 after a “trip and fall” incident at Murdaugh’s Moselle home.
In addition to the Satterfield case, Murdaugh is being sued by his former law firm, Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick; his brother, Randy Murdaugh; his former legal partner JohnnyParker; the family of Mallory Beach, who died in a boating accident involving Murdaugh’s boat and his late son Paul in 2019; as well as four passengers who were injured in the same accident.
As fellow recipients continue to sift through Murdaugh’s fortune, more questions are raised about what he did with the millions he allegedly stole.
Questions are also being asked about the loans he appears to have given to employees.
At the end of March, FITSNews reported on a $5,000 Loan Murdaugh made to Yemassee Police Chief Gregory Alexanderwho is currently running for Hampton County sheriff just weeks after Murdaugh’s wife and son were murdered.
When reached by the Founding Editor of FITSNews want people When he asked about the loan, Alexander said it was a loan for his parents and he wasn’t sure if it had been repaid.
We will continue to follow this story.
To view Tuesday afternoon’s court filings, click here, here, here and here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Liz Farrell is the new Editor-in-Chief at FITSNews. Named the state’s top female columnist for 2018 by the South Carolina Press Association, she’s back after taking a nearly two-year hiatus from corporate journalism to reclaim her soul. Email her at [email protected] or tweet her @ElizFarrell.
WANT SOUND OFF?
Do you have something you would like to say in response to one of our articles? Or an issue you want to proactively address? We have an open mic policy here at FITSNews! Email your letter (or guest column) HERE. Do you have a tip for a story? CLICK HERE. Do you have a technical question or a fault to report? CLICK HERE.
GET THE LATEST SOUTH CAROLINA NEWS IN YOUR INBOX…