By Calvin Palmer
A Texas woman duped work colleagues into believing she had breast cancer and spent the $10,000 they and others raised to have her breast enlarged.
Trista Joy Lathern, 24, formerly of Robinson near Waco, even shaved her head to look like she was having chemotherapy, said McLennan County sheriff’s investigator James Pack.
Lathern wanted breast implants to try to save her seven-month marriage, Pack said.
Her co-workers at the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, in Hewitt, where Lathern worked as an accounting assistant since May 2008, were taken in by her reported ruse.
She was arrested last week and charged with theft by deception. On the same day, her husband, William Lathern, filed for annulment.
The annulment petition says that William Lathern was unaware his wife didn’t have cancer when they married April 18 or when a benefit was held at Hog Creek Ice House in August. He is seeking custody of their two boys, aged five and three.
Lathern is now living with her grandparents in Beverly Hills. She declined comment.
Trista Lathern’s co-workers at the Army and Air Force Exchange Service gave up vacation time to Lathern because they thought she needed the time off while undergoing chemotherapy, said Judd Anstey, an exchange service spokesman in Dallas.
Phyllis Hubbard, spokeswoman for Susan G. Komen for the Cure in Waco, said she hoped the case would make donors to benefits for cancer vicitims more aware.
“Maybe this incident will be a red flag so they will do a little more investigating to see where their money and support are going to,” Hubbard said.