Murdaugh friend Cory Fleming pleads guilty to federal charge in connection with Satterfield settlement theft

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Published: May. 25, 2023 at 10:14 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WIS) - Alex Murdaugh’s friend and former law school classmate Cory Fleming pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday for his role in a scheme to steal money from the family of Murdaugh’s housekeeper.

Fleming’s plea before Judge Richard Gergel was for one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

His attorney Deborah Barbier said Fleming is “extremely remorseful” for his behavior.

Fleming, a Beaufort attorney, admitted his role in the theft of more than $4.3 million in settlements meant for the Satterfield family.

After longtime Murdaugh housekeeper Gloria Satterfield died in a slip and fall accident at the family estate in 2018, Murdaugh persuaded the family to hire Fleming to represent them and submit a claim against his homeowner’s insurance policy.

The settlements never made it to the Satterfield family, though, with the bulk of the money going to a fake bank account Murdaugh set up to mimic Forge Consulting, a legitimate structured settlement firm.

Emily Limehouse laid out the details of Fleming’s crime, also detailed in charging documents.

He got fake disbursement sheets approved before a circuit court judge and stole $26,000 meant for the Satterfields.

Ronnie Richter, Satterfield family attorney, spoke in court on behalf of the victims before the bond was set by Magistrate Judge Molly Cherry.

“Gloria died more than five years ago,” Richter said in an interview. “This is the first time in five years anybody associated with Murdaugh has pled guilty to anything, and it’s about damn time. So today was a great day for justice.”

Fleming has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for a lighter sentence. The government recommended no time in state prison.

He faces up to five years in prison and will be sentenced by Gergel at a later date.

Cherry released Fleming on a $25,000 unsecured bond on Thursday.

Barbier said her client has given up his license to practice law in South Carolina and Georgia.

Murdaugh, who was convicted by a Colleton County jury in March of murdering his wife Maggie and son Paul, was indicted on 22 new federal charges this week.

Those include wire fraud and money laundering.

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