Attorneys for Forge Consulting, LLC said today that they are preparing to file a lawsuit against disbarred South Carolina attorney Richard “Alex” Murdaugh and Bank of America.
In a public statement released Monday, Forge representatives said the action was in response to the “serious harm that Murdaugh and Bank of America have caused to the business reputation and credibility of the financial firm for their roles in a scheme that allowed Murdaugh to use the “Forge” trademark to defraud millions of dollars from his clients and colleagues.”
“This is one of the worst libel and libel cases I’ve seen,” said Pete Strom, a former US attorney and founder of the Strom law firm representing Forge Consulting. “Forge Consulting did nothing wrong. But their reputation is under attack because Alex Murdaugh stole their name and Bank of America let him… A company like this lives and dies by its good reputation and that’s exactly what it stole .
Murdaugh is currently jailed in Richland County on $7 million bond after facing more than 90 criminal charges related to a decade of financial and drug crimes across multiple counties that occurred while he was a partner in his family’s historic and important SC Lowcountry. law firm, PMPED. Most recently, he was charged on July 14 with the June 2021 murder of his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul.
During his reported financial crimes, Murdaugh allegedly used Forge’s name to set up fraudulent bank accounts at Bank of America and other SC Lowcountry banks.
A Bank of America attorney and attorneys for Murdaugh did not return emails seeking comment Monday morning.
If Forge follows through on his threat to sue, Murdaugh could find himself defending a total of 12 civil lawsuits. He now faces ten trials in state court and one federal trial.
More civil lawsuits:Alex Murdaugh case: Ex-Hampton banker slapped on trial, no more federal charges
Coverage of previous lawsuits:New indictments allege Alex Murdaugh robbed his brother, name 2 new accomplices
Forge argues that, like the other targets of Murdaugh’s actions, they too are victims.
“We’ve been in business since 2003, building our reputation on professionalism, experience and integrity and we refuse to let anyone take that away from us,” said Spooner Phillips, CEO of Forge Consulting. “We provide fiduciary and fiduciary services and ‘trust’ is the key word.”
According to multiple court documents, Murdaugh created fraudulent bank accounts using the name “Forge” in order to impersonate the legitimacy of the company for his own fraudulent purposes. The decision was key to the success of his project, as Forge Consulting is a well-respected firm that performs financial and fiduciary planning for attorneys and their clients, Forge attorneys say in a statement.
However, as Strom states, “Murdaugh’s plan would never have got off the ground had Bank of America done its due diligence, even trying to confirm that Murdaugh’s ‘Forge’ was who he claimed to be.
“All Bank of America had to do was make a phone call and they would have realized the truth,” said Bakari Sellers, who also represents Forge Consulting. “This negligence not only contributed to this massive fraud, it allowed Forge Consulting to be painted with the Murdaugh brush.”