Richard “Alex” Murdaugh financed the purchase of a funeral home in Brunswick, Georgia, in 2020, according to new legal documents implicating the suspended South Carolina lawyer accused in a series of financial crimes and civil lawsuits , but the buyer says the transaction was a friendly loan that has been fully repaid.
As Murdaugh remains in Columbia’s Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on $7 million bail — facing 78 criminal charges and nine civil lawsuits — court records reveal more about his assets, prior financial dealings and his business dealings while accused of being at the center of a decade-long multi-county financial crime spree.
This latest legal filing suggests that Murdaugh lent more than $110,000 to a client and friend, John H. Martin, owner of Martin’s Funeral Home in Estill, to purchase a second funeral home in Georgia.
On Tuesday, Amy LB Hill, a Columbia attorney representing co-receivers John T. Lay Jr. and Peter M. McCoy Jr., filed a “Motion to Compel a Response to a Subpoena from Martin’s Funeral Home.” in Hampton County Court of Common Pleas.
The motion was attached to a wrongful death lawsuit filed against Murdaugh and others by Mallory Beach’s estate in connection with a boating accident in Beaufort County in February 2019. Beach, 19, was killed in the accident.
As part of this lawsuit, Lay and McCoy have been appointed by the court as co-receivers to determine what Murdaugh’s assets are, where they may be allegedly hidden, and control those assets through the creation of a fund. for the alleged victims and their ongoing civil lawsuits.
The motion says evidence shows Murdaugh personally financed Martin’s purchase of the Georgia Funeral Home. The information discovered includes wiring instructions to Southeastern Bank in the amount of $110,253.76 on January 14, 2020, from Alex’s personal checking account, the motion states.
The petition adds: “A cursory review of Alex’s financial records does not indicate that John Martin reimbursed Alex for the purchase which took place in January 2020, although it is clear that John Martin operates a funeral home in both in Estill and Brunswick, Georgia.
The motion to compel asks Martin Funeral Home to respond to his subpoena, which was served on Jan. 27.
“It was a personal favor, not an investment,” Martin told the Guardian. “That money has been refunded. Alex Murdaugh has nothing to do with Martin Funeral Home. He has no assets or liabilities in my business. I worked too hard for this funeral home.”
Subpoena documents, along with details of the bank transaction, are attached as exhibits to the petition, indicating that the request for funds from Palmetto State Bank in Hampton has been received and verified by the former director of Palmetto State Bank, Russell Laffitte.
Murdaugh allegedly used at least two banks in South Carolina to orchestrate his financial schemes, allegedly stealing more than $8 million from his former clients, partners and other attorneys. Laffitte, who is being investigated by the state Supreme Court’s Office of Disciplinary Counsel in connection with the Murdaugh case and was removed from his post at the bank on Jan. 7, issued a statement. statement on January 27 indicating that he is cooperating with the investigation. Laffitte was not charged with any charges on Friday.
The Martin family responds
Martin’s Funeral Home is a family business that was started in one location, Estill, South Carolina, in 1989 by John Martin and his wife, Deborah Singletary-Martin, according to its Facebook page.
When contacted by The Hampton County Guardian, both Martins called the recent legal filing and subsequent media coverage “libelous.” Both were shocked and angry to be linked in any way to this ongoing Murdaugh crime saga.
The Martins say Murdaugh is in no way connected to their business, they repaid the loan through Palmetto State Bank and they also provided financial documents to the Guardian which they say prove the loan is fully refunded. The documents provided also show that they recently responded to the subpoena on April 28, they said.
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On Friday, April 29, the co-receivers filed a letter to Hampton County Clerk Mylinda D. Nettles formally withdrawing their motion for contravention, stating that Martin’s funeral home had responded and granted their subpoena requests. and that a hearing was no longer necessary.
“The sad thing about this whole scenario is that no one did any forensic accounting of Alex Murdaugh’s accounts before they did this. [court filing]”, said Deborah Singletary-Martin. “They [the co-receivers] should have gotten those documents from the bank, instead of defaming John Martin’s name and the name of the funeral home…I’m stunned by the way this was conducted.”
Martin said he and a friend were at an estate sale in Brunswick, Georgia in January 2020 when he bid on a property at the last minute. This property included a funeral home, their other parcels of property, a 2004 Cadillac hearse and a 2005 Cadillac limo, documents provided by Martin.
Martin won the auction around 2 p.m. that day, but needed the money by closing at 4 p.m., so he called his lawyer, Murdaugh, to arrange to borrow the money. Martin also uses Palmetto State Bank, he said, and Murdaugh had been his attorney for some time, although Martin said he had never borrowed money from Murdaugh before. Murdaugh also defended Deon Martin, son of John and Deborah, in a case involving a car accident, and is now charged with stealing from Deon Martin’s colony, among other things.
Murdaugh agreed to wire the money, and since then it has been repaid from Martin’s personal bank accounts and 401K accounts, Martin said.
Martin is not only a longtime funeral home owner and operator, he is also an active member of the South Carolina Morticians Association. In 2012, the late Senator Clementa Pinckney of Jasper County moved a resolution honoring Martin when he was selected as the 2011 Professional of the Year by the South Carolina Morticians Association, Inc.
Martin retired from Hampton County School District 2 in June 2015, where he served as a transportation supervisor, athletic director, basketball coach, football coach, and worked with facilities departments, maintenance and guard. He also served on the Hampton County Transportation Board, according to the South Carolina Senate resolution filed in his honor.
Learn more about Martin here: