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Alex Murdaugh Sentenced To 40 Years For Financial Crimes

Alex Murdaugh, the disgraced lawyer found guilty of killing his wife and son, has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for federal financial crimes.

Murdaugh, 55, is already serving two life sentences for the murders of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh.

He is also serving 27 years for nearly two dozen state financial charges relating to fraud and money laundering.

Murdaugh admitted to stealing millions from client settlements, saying the money was used to fund a drug habit.

This latest sentence will be served concurrently with his state prison term, also for financial crimes. Murdaugh must also pay more than $8 million (£6.3m) in restitution to his victims.

Federal prosecutors had suggested a sentence ranging from 17 and a half to nearly 22 years for Murdaugh, the scion of a South Carolina legal dynasty.

But US District Judge Richard Gergel imposed a tougher sentence, stating in federal court on Monday that Murdaugh stole from “the most needy, vulnerable people,” including a client who became a quadriplegic after a crash.

“They placed all their problems and all their hopes on Mr. Murdaugh, and it is from those people he abused and stole. It is a difficult set of actions to understand,” Judge Gergel said.

Murdaugh told the court on Monday he was filled with “sorrow and guilt” for his crimes.

“There’s not enough time, and I don’t possess a sufficient vocabulary to adequately portray to you in words the magnitude of how I feel about the things I did,” he said.

The stakes for Monday’s hearing, which might have been a routine proceeding, had increased in recent days after a dispute over a polygraph. Prosecutors argued their plea deal with Murdaugh should be revoked after an October 2023 polygraph revealed him to be dishonest about where the more than $6 million he stole ended up and whether another lawyer had assisted him in the theft.

Additionally, prosecutors said they had identified 11 new financial victims and another $1.3 million in stolen cash.

“The FBI examiner determined that all of Murdaugh’s responses during the polygraph examination indicated deception,” the filing said.

Murdaugh’s defense lawyers disputed this, stating the examiner had asked unusual questions, affecting the results.

According to the filing, the FBI agent asked Murdaugh before the exam began if he could keep a secret and then informed him he had interviewed Joran van der Sloot, the Dutch man suspected of killing American woman Natalee Holloway in Aruba in 2005.

The examiner also told Murdaugh he did not believe the lawyer had murdered his wife and son.

Murdaugh has confessed to embezzling millions from clients and his law firm, claiming he used the funds to fuel an all-consuming drug addiction. However, he maintains his innocence in the killings of his family and is appealing his murder conviction.

These convictions for financial crimes virtually guarantee he will remain incarcerated regardless of the outcome of his appeal.

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