Ex-bank CEO and associate of Alex Murdaugh indicted on wire and bank fraud charges
A federal grand jury has indicted a former bank chief executive, on charges of conspiring with fired attorney Alex Mordo to embezzle money from clients and divert millions of dollars.
Russell Lafitte, the former CEO of Palmetto State Bank in Hampton, South Carolina, was indicted on five counts Wednesday, accusing him of wire fraud, bank fraud and misuse of bank funds, US Attorney’s Office in the District of South Carolina announced Wednesday.
Lafitte, 51, worked as a governor or personal representative for Mordo clients, when he was a personal injury attorney.
The indictment did not name Murdo and referred to him as a “bank client,” but the attorney for two of their victims identified him.
The indictment reveals that Lafitte on several occasions extended loans from custodian accounts to himself or Murdo, without formal approval or notification to the law firm, and the two subsequently repaid the withdrawn funds with funds from other custodian accounts.
Murdo, a descendant of a prominent South Carolina legal dynasty, has made headlines since the mysterious 2021 killings. His wife Margaret, 52, and son Paul, 22.
After their deaths, she hired Murdo, 54 Professional killer to kill him Officials said his eldest son would get a life insurance policy, and he has been charged with dozens of financial crimes.
Wednesday indictment It details cases in which Lafitte, while working with Suppliers, defrauded six clients “under materially and fraudulently false allegations and by making materially false representations.”
These cases date back to July 2011 and have continued throughout the decade.
“Lavitt, while serving as governor of the bank’s client’s personal injury client, provided $355,000 in personal loans to himself and $990,000 in personal loans to a bank client from funds held in PSB that belonged to personal injury clients,” the statement said.
Officials said Lafitte provided the loans to suppliers, knowing they were “used to cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in overdrafts on a bank customer’s personal account.”
The indictment also alleges that Lafitte knew that suppliers “used stolen money from other infected clients to repay the loans.”
The statement states that Lafitte received checks from Murdo’s law firm and that he negotiated and distributed the money after Murdo directed bank wire transfers, cash, and other wire transfers.
At the same time, Lafitte collected nearly $400,000 in fees for his role as an official, maintainer, and personal representative.
The indictment included two occasions in which Lafitte “willfully misused bank funds.
In October 2021, he paid Murdo Law Firm $680,000 without notice or approval from the bank. In July 2021, he “misused $750,000 of bank money” by making a loan to suppliers, despite “knowing that the loan was essentially unsecured” and that the money “was used to pay lawyers’ salaries and cover hundreds of thousands of dollars in overdrafts.” on the personal account of a bank customer.
So was Lafitte and Mordue Similar charges were brought by a state grand jury in Mayaccused of Convert nearly 2 million clients in three separate cases.
Lafitte was fired from his job at the bank earlier this year.
According to the statement, Lafitte faces a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for the charges.
His attorney, Bart Daniel, told NBC News that he and his co-chair “intend to vigorously fight the charges at trial on behalf of Russell Laffitt.”
The case was investigated by the FBI, South Carolina Division of Law Enforcement (SLED) and the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office.
Attorneys Eric Bland and Ronald Richter Jr., who represent two victims included in the indictment, Alanya Spoon and Hannah Blair, praised the charges.
“Ross Laffitt and Alex Murdo looted their wallets and treated them as their own,” they said in a statement on Wednesday.
Lawyers said the two sisters lost their mother and brother and were injured during a car accident in July 2005 when they were children.
The girls “put their trust” in Suppliers and Lafitte and their entities “to guide them with respect to subsequent litigation and settlement and to preserve their settlement funds.”
“The girls view Ross Laffitte as a father figure and trust him to navigate the waters ahead of them and guide them,” the statement read. “It’s hard to express the feelings and disappointment of learning after years that those who swore to protect the Plylers chose instead to prey on them.”