On August 1, Judge Richard Gergel sentenced Russell Laffitte to 84 months in federal prison plus five years of probation and ordered him to pay over $3.55 million in restitution.

Judge Gergel heard from nine defense witnesses and several victims in court Wednesday including Pamela Pinckney, Natasha Thomas, Hannah Plyer and Alaina Plyler regarding Laffitte’s involvement with years of fraud.

Laffitte has an estimated net worth of $10 million and is accused of assisting in the theft or misappropriation of more than $3.7 million from client settlement funds.

As Federal Prosecutor Emily Limehouse wrote in a sentencing memorandum earlier this month, “the Defendant and [Alex] Murdaugh executed a highly complex and sophisticated scheme that spanned more than eight years and involved the fraud and deceit of numerous vulnerable individuals, the court, law partners, and family members.”

During the sentencing, Judge Gergel heard from several victims of Laffitte’s financial crimes including Hannah and Alania Plyler, whose mother and brother were killed in a car accident in 2005.

“We were babies watching our family die,” Alania Plyler said in the courtroom. “Didn’t you feel we’ve been through enough? Grown trusted men took absolute advantage of us little girls.”

In addition to his wife, mother and daughter, Mr. Laffitte also took the podium to speak directly to Judge Gergel.

During the sentencing, Judge Gergel told Laffitte that he was “incredibly cruel” to the “most vulnerable people.”

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Sam Berlin

Sam is an award winning-journalist originally from Raleigh, North Carolina and currently living in Brooklyn, New York.

She graduated from Syracuse University in 2020 where she studied magazine journalism, photography, and sociology.

She joined Luna Shark Media in 2023 where she assists with research, producing, recording and editing for True Sunlight and Cup of Justice podcasts.

Through her detailed, ethical reporting and multimedia experience, Sam creates enterprise stories and works to unravel the truth around her.

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