COLOMBIA, South Carolina – Federal prosecutors said August 31 in a new filing that they should not relax existing bond terms of former Hampton banker Russell Laffitt, who faces nearly 30 years in prison in connection with alleged fraud schemes by Alex Mordo. of his crimes.
Those arguments as well as more will be heard Tuesday in Charleston before U.S. Magistrates Judge Molly Cherry, who will decide whether Lafitte, 51 – has been charged. Federal fees Must wear a federally required GPS tracking device in addition to a state GPS monitor.
Prosecutors wrote: “Laffitt took advantage of the weaknesses of the people he was assigned to be trustees, took advantage of the assets with which he was accused and entrusted with the management of, and profit from them.”
“And he did all of this when he was an employee, officer or director of Palmetto State Bank. They added that he unilaterally erred in using Palmetto State Bank money to make “sham” loans to (suppliers), despite the tangible financial risks associated with doing so, and all of that in furtherance of the scheme.
In all, Lafitte, Mardo’s childhood friendHe faces six federal charges of various types of financial fraud, carrying a sentence of up to 30 years in prison.
Federal and state prosecutors allege that the former CEO of Palmetto State Bank has engaged with the now-excluded attorney from Murdo to illegally use money belonging to several provinces under Laffitte’s control.
Lafitte was fired as CEO last January, the top position at his family’s bank, after working his way up as a teller over 25 years. As CEO, he exercised significant control over the bank’s loans and internal accounts.
Separately, Mordo, 54, is facing 90 different counts in state court alleging that he stole more than $8.7 million from fellow attorneys, clients and associates. he is too He faces charges for the double murder of his wife and son in June 2021.
Murdo faces maximum sentences of hundreds of years in prison.
Lafitte’s lawyers said Lafitte is innocent until proven guilty, has no criminal history, has deep domestic family ties, and has already voluntarily appeared multiple times to speak with law enforcement, so there is no need to make him wear a federal tracking device 31 court filing.
Lafitte’s lawyers said that neither state nor federal authorities have a “large amount of evidence” against their client.
Feds shed more light on Lafitte’s alleged role
Arguments in court Tuesday will touch on the terms of Laffitt’s bail and his alleged schemes.
In the August 31 court filing, prosecutors said Lafitte is currently working through his family’s partnership, which pays him $230,000 a year to grow the family property. But in response, his attorneys — Bart Daniel and Matt Austin — said their client only gets $84,000 a year and the federal GPS tracker should go.
Federal prosecutors Emily Limehouse and Winston Holiday disagree.
Fett’s current bond terms — which allow him to look after his farm property and travel across the state for his son’s soccer games — shouldn’t be relaxed, in large part. Misappropriation of funds entrusted to his custody Prosecutors said it was very dangerous.
“The evidence (against Laffitte) is overwhelming,” prosecutors wrote, citing emails between Lafitte and Murdo that were not mentioned in two previous federal indictments, both of which allege the former banker played an active role in mixing money into internal bank accounts and trusteeship. Mardos can take advantage of them for loans.
For example, on October 22, 2013, prosecutors said that when Murdo withdrew $64,643 from his Palmetto Bank checking account, Lafitte emailed Murdo.
“Need a deposit. I thought you were coming yesterday,” Lafitte wrote.
“Sorry I forgot. Can you take out a loan from (HP initials custodian account) and I will pay it as we discussed,” Vendors replied afterwards.
The “HP” account refers to Hannah Blair, who has with her sister He sued Lafitte and his ex-banker More than money owed to them through an account created after their mother and teenage brother were killed in a car accident.
The next day, October 23, 2013, Lafitte transferred $70,000 from Blair’s account to Mordos.
“I transferred 70,000 this morning,” Lafitte wrote to Suppliers, according to the prosecution’s note.
In another example, prosecutors say it demonstrated the close working relationship between Lafitte and Mordeau, which is how they both monitored Blair’s surveillance.
Under the rules of the guardianship, the money in it had to be handed over to her when she turned 18.
“The evidence will show that Laffitte and the bank’s client (suppliers) have been keeping a close eye on when HP will turn eighteen, at which point they will have to repay the loans (which they obtained using HP money) in full,” the prosecutors wrote.
In March 2014, Murdo wrote an email to Lafitte.
“How long before (HP) is 18?” The prosecutor’s filing said Mordue wrote to Lafitte.
When Blair turned 18, Mordue had to repay the remainder of Lafitte’s outstanding loans to him through her account, and Lafitte extended a $500,000 line of credit to Mordeau, claiming “agriculture,” the plaintiffs said.
The plaintiffs wrote that the “agriculture” loan enabled suppliers to pay what he owed to Blair’s leadership.
During the life of Plyler’s guardianship and that of her younger sister, Lafitte collected over $250,000 in fees from their money. Prosecutors wrote that he made eight “favorable rates” for himself, totaling $355,000.
Prosecutors wrote that Lafitte also provided suppliers with 13 unauthorized loans from Blair’s trust, totaling $990,000.
Although Lafitte’s attorneys said he cooperated extensively with the FBI, federal prosecutors disputed that claim, saying Lafitte lied. They said that while most of Lafitte’s alleged crimes with Murdo occurred in 2015 and earlier, Lafitte was still moving bank money for Murdoch in the summer and fall of 2021, the lawsuit says.
In June 2021, Murdo’s wife, Maggie, and son, Paul, were shot and killed in the family’s 1,700-acre home in Coulton County. A year later in July, Murdo was charged with two counts of murder during their deaths.
Prosecutors claimed that after the killings, Lafitte continued to shuffle hundreds of thousands of dollars to “hide” his role in the schemes.
In short, the nature and circumstances of the crimes and the weight of the supporting evidence work in favor of the terms of the bonds, prosecutors wrote.
These circumstances and crimes, prosecutors say, warrant Lafitte’s wearing of two GPS tracking devices.
However, Lafitte’s lawyers want the federal government to lift their demand, saying their client does not pose a risk to the airline and that additional federal monitoring is not necessary.
“He is not hiding. Laffitte’s lawyers said he does not deny many of the basic facts in this case.” He simply does not agree with the government’s belief that he knowingly joined Alex Murdo’s criminal scheme, and the undersigned attorney looks to prove that the government’s theories about Mr. Lafitte are not It is well-founded.”