SC sisters with money handled by Laffitte testify in fraud trial – InsuranceNewsNet

On Monday, the sisters were the first witnesses to begin the second week of Laffitte’s federal trial Charleston on bank and wire fraud charges.

The government accused him of embezzling and stealing money from the settlement of the Plylers and other crash victims whose finances he managed, and of using that money for his personal use and use for Alex Murdaughone of the lawyers in the Plylers case.

Murdaugh is not charged in this case, but is an unindicted co-conspirator.

Murdaugh and the many charges of state financial fraud – he is accused of embezzling some $8 million of more than a dozen clients and associates – has become a national sensation since being indicted in the June 2021 murders of his wife and son.

Alania, now 30, described Laffitte as a father figure who helped her buy a car and a house, and who promised her enough money so she never had to work a job. only day of his life.

“I saw it as a bottomless pit,” she tested on Monday. “I could buy all the cars I wanted, have a nice house, and it would never run out.”

Questioned by the prosecutor Winston HolidaysAlania clarified that Laffitte had no emotion towards her.

“It was business,” she tested.

But she remembered that the banker was always vague about the exact amount of money she could expect to get.

She and her sister had to apply for a regular stipend to cover their tuition and living expenses. When Laffitte bought her a used car, Alania ended up paying high interest rates on a used car bought at auction, even though she felt hundreds of thousands of dollars should have been available. on his account.

At the age of 18, Alania said she remembered meeting Laffitte for the last time to get a sheaf of documents she didn’t understand, then unceremoniously handing him control of the silver. Laffitte gave her no advice on how to handle the windfall she was getting into, she tested.

“I had planned that (the last meeting with Laffitte) would last all day, but I remember thinking that the journey was longer than the whole meeting,” Alania tested on Monday.

The only time she said she heard of Laffitte after that day was when he needed to locate his still underage sister, Hannah, whose money he still controlled.

Laffitte is accused of embezzling money from the Plylers’ accounts when Murdaugh demanded money for his own use, including money to pay for Murdaugh’s boat and renovations to a family beach house .

When Alania later lost this packet of papers in a house fire, she remembers receiving a “lighter” packet from Laffitte in the mail to replace it. She said she only received a full copy after Murdaugh was fired from his family law firm and charged with embezzlement.

Laffitte told him that he was sending it to him because it had also been requested by the State Law Enforcement Divisionshe says.

Hannah, now 25, said she was unaware that money had been transferred from her account and only received a similar set of documents at the 18 years old. Disney Worldshe was told to continue basic spending on anything she couldn’t get a receipt for.

“It was tough for a little girl who had just lost her mother and brother and was just trying to have a good time,” Hannah said. “I feel like it should have been easy for us.”

FBI analyst explains how Laffitte moved money

A FBI The forensic accountant – the seventh prosecution witness so far – testified on Monday that as early as 2011 Laffitte transferred money from Hannah’s account to Murdaugh’s, who then placed the money in his own of them State Bank of Palmetto verify accounts.

What Laffitte considered “loans”, Laffitte also granted himself a “loan” on Hannah’s account, FBI accounting Cyndra Swinson testified.

In the five years between 2011 and 2015, when Hannah turned 18, Laffitte made more than a dozen transfers totaling a few $240,000 from his accounts to Murdaugh’s two current accounts, Swinson testified.

Questioned by the prosecutor Kate Stoughtonwho used inflated spreadsheets and copies of bank documents to illustrate his testimony, Swinson said that for the most part, after Murdaugh put the money in his checking accounts, he outgrew those accounts within weeks.

Swinson also testified that the attorney for Murdaugh’s law firm John Parker gift one $400,000 loan to Laffitte which was used to facilitate the fast money transfers that Laffitte was designing. Parker often lent to people, according to earlier testimony at trial.

In September 2011Laffitte retires $225,000 from Hannah’s account and put it in her own account, then paid off two outstanding loans $92,000 and $52,000. Before the transfer, Laffitte had less than $100 available in the account Hannah’s money was transferred to.

Swinson also said Laffitte used the money he borrowed from Hannah to pay more $20,000 to a swimming pool company and pay off a loan with a high interest rate and then take out a loan with a lower interest rate.

In total, nearly a quarter of a million dollars was taken from Hannah’s account to repay outstanding loans to Laffitte, including $19,000 is still pending, Swinson tested.

This was the start of a series of detailed money transfers to the jury, showing hundreds of thousands of dollars transferred from Hannah’s account to accounts associated with Laffitte, Murdaugh, the fathers of the two men and Murdaugh’s wife, Maggie.

To cover the withdrawals, Laffitte would transfer money from other accident victim lawsuit settlement accounts that he also oversaw as custodian, including Arthur Badger, Hakeem Pinckney and malik williamsSwinson said.

All of the loans have been repaid in full by the other trustees, Swinson said during cross-examination by defense counsel. Bart-Daniel.

Murdaugh and Laffitte eventually lost their jobs at Murdaugh’s family law firm and Laffitte’s family bank, respectively.

Earlier Monday, in cross-examination Hannah, defense attorney Matt Austin noted that Laffitte managed to manage and even grow the Plyler accounts from their legal settlement.

Hannah tested that she was now living off payments from her annuity into the account, while her sister, Alania, said she chose to work as a sheriff’s deputy even though her annuity covered her day-to-day expenses.

“I love working on the road, I love being one of the first people on the front line,” Alania said. “When children are being abused, or there is a wreck I show up on involving children or when loved ones are lost, I know what it is. Working with single moms who manage to make ends meet with nowhere to live, I know what it’s like too. It’s the silver lining when I go to work tonight, that I’ll use my life experiences to help others.

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