Forge Consulting threatens suit against Murdaugh, Bank of America
Savannah Morning News (GA)
Attorneys for Forge Consulting, LLC said today that they're preparing to take legal action against disbarred South Carolina attorney Richard "Alex" Murdaugh and Bank of America.
In a public statement released Monday, Forge's representatives say this action is in response to the "serious harm Murdaugh and Bank of America have done to the financial firm's business reputation and credibility for their parts in a scheme that allowed Murdaugh to use the 'Forge' brand in order to bilk millions of dollars from his clients and colleagues."
"This is one of the worst case of defamation and character assassination I've seen," said Pete Strom, a former U.S. Attorney and founder of The Strom Law Firm representing Forge Consulting. "Forge Consulting did nothing wrong. But their reputation is under attack all because Alex Murdaugh stole their name and Bank of America let him do it... A company like this lives and dies by its good name and that's exactly what they stole."
Murdaugh is currently jailed in Richland County on a $7 million bond after facing more than 90 criminal charges in relation to a decade-long, multi-county financial and drug crime spree that occurred while he was a partner in his family's historic and prominent S.C. Lowcountry law firm, PMPED. Most recently, he was charged July 14 with the June 2021 murders of his wife, Maggie, and son, Paul.
During the course of his reported financial crimes, Murdaugh allegedly used the Forge name to create fraudulent bank accounts at Bank of America and other banks around the S.C. Lowcountry.
An attorney for Bank of America, and attorneys for Murdaugh, did not return emails seeking comment on Monday morning.
If Forge carries out its threat to take legal action, Murdaugh may find himself defending a total of 12 civil suits. He is now facing ten lawsuits in state courts and one federal lawsuit.
Forge contends that, like the other targets of Murdaugh's actions, they, too, are victims.
"We have been in business since 2003 building our reputation on professionalism, experience and integrity and we refuse to let anyone steal that from us," said Forge Consulting CEO Spooner Phillips. "We provide trust and fiduciary services and 'trust' is the keyword."
According to multiple court documents, Murdaugh set up fraudulent bank accounts using the "Forge" name in order to mimic the company's legitimacy for his own fraudulent purposes. That decision was key to his scheme's success, as Forge Consulting is a well-respected company that performs financial and fiduciary planning for attorneys and their clients, Forge's attorneys contend in a statement.
However, as Strom states, "Murdaugh's plan would never have gotten off the ground if Bank of America had exercised any due diligence even attempting to confirm Murdaugh's 'Forge' was who he pretended it was.
"All Bank of America had to do was make a phone call and they would have realized the truth," said Bakari Sellers, who is also representing Forge Consulting. "That negligence not only contributed to this massive fraud, it allowed Forge Consulting to be painted with the Murdaugh brush."