On Thursday, November 30, 2023, the Supreme Court of South Carolina disbarred attorney Cory Howerton Fleming following his guilty pleas in both state and federal courts regarding criminal charges connected to decade-long financial schemes.

The case is titled ‘In the Matter of Cory Howerton Fleming’ with case no. 2023-001443.

The disciplinary matter stemmed from Attorney Fleming’s ethical violations involving misrepresentation, dishonesty, fraud, deceit, failure to communicate with clients, and violation of trust obligation, violating Rule 8.4(d) of the South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct.

The South Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct can be found here.

Attorney Fleming pled guilty to multiple charges including conspiracy, money laundering, and breach of trust with fraudulent intent in cases involving the death settlements of Hakeem Pinckney in 2011 and Gloria Satterfield in 2018.

According to court documents, Attorney Fleming represented Pamela Pinckney following a 2009 car accident that left her son Hakeem Pinckney paralyzed. After Pinckney’s death in October 2011, Fleming retained $350,000 of the settlement funds in his trust account. Over the next several years, Attorney Fleming converted over $100,000 of those funds for personal use through checks written to co-conspirator Richard Murdaugh or marked as fraudulent expenses.

In the case of housekeeper Gloria Satterfield, who died in February 2018 after a fall at Murdaugh’s home, Attorney Fleming failed to communicate with Satterfield’s estate representatives properly. He also submitted fraudulent settlement petitions to the court, converted $403,500 and $3 million of the insurance payouts through checks to “Forge”, an account owned by Murdaugh, and kept $26,200 in additional fraudulent expenses.

On May 25, 2023, Attorney Fleming pled guilty to federal conspiracy charges relating to his conduct in the Satterfield case. On August 15th, he was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison, along with a $20,000 fine and restitution in the amount of $102,221.90. On August 23rd, Fleming also pled guilty to 23 state charges spanning the Pinckney and Satterfield cases. He received a 10-year state sentence on September 14th to run consecutively after the federal term.

The South Carolina Supreme Court disbarred Fleming on November 30th based on the clear misconduct established by his guilty pleas. The Court found no need for further disciplinary proceedings, citing Fleming’s decade of “egregious ethical misconduct” through dishonest schemes with Murdaugh that took advantage of vulnerable clients. Fleming is now barred from practicing law in South Carolina.

The disposition reads:

“Therefore, we dispense with further investigation by ODC and further proceedings before the Commission. Respondent is hereby disbarred from the practice of law in South Carolina.”

According to Avvo, Attorney Cory Howerton Fleming was a litigation attorney based in Beaufort, South Carolina. He attended the University of South Carolina School of Law, graduating in 1994. He acquired his license in South Carolina in the same year.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.