South Carolina Attorney Attempted Insurance Fraud Amid Depression

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Police tape stretches across a road as police inspect and guard the area outside the New South Wales (NSW) state police headquarters located in the south western Sydney suburb of Parramatta, Australia, October 2, 2015. Reuters/David Gray

Prominent South Carolina attorney Alex Murdaugh has admitted to carrying out a fraud scheme to obtain a life insurance payout for his surviving son.

On Monday, Murdaugh admitted to playing a part in a fraud scheme to support the charges against the alleged gunman, Curtis Edward Smith.

Murdaugh was reportedly suffering from “a massive depression” and decided to end his life, according to his attorneys. 

He was shot in the head on Sept. 4, months after the fatal shootings of his wife, Margaret, and son, Paul, in June.

Dick Harpootlian, Murdaugh’s attorney, claimed their deaths and the death of his father that same week “took a tremendous toll on him.” 

“Most people couldn’t get through that. He got through it with the use of opioids,” Harpootlian said during an appearance on the “Today” show.

Harpootlian and Murdaugh’s other lawyer claimed their client was also suffering from opioid addiction. “For the last 20 years, there have been many people feeding his addiction to opioids,” the attorneys stated. 

“During that time, these individuals took advantage of his addiction and his ability to pay substantial funds for illegal drugs. One of those individuals took advantage of his mental illness and agreed to take Alex's life, by shooting him in the head.”

Harpootlian claimed Murdaugh believed his surviving son would not be able to collect his life insurance payout if he died of suicide. As a result, Murdaugh contacted Smith and provided him with the firearm to shoot him in the head.

Although there have been no charges brought against Murdaugh, Smith has been charged with pointing and presenting a firearm, assisted suicide, distribution of methamphetamine and possession of marijuana, assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud.

Smith has confessed to being present during the shooting and disposing of the weapon. Murdaugh’s attorneys expect to see charges brought against their client in the future.


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Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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