Former Charleston banker Latham arrested by ATF agents
Federal investigators arrested former Charleston banker Chris Latham Tuesday evening in connection with a sealed indictment while he was vacationing in the Upstate, his attorney said.
Latham, whose estranged wife has accused him of being involved in a plot to kill her, was reportedly arrested around 7 p.m.
Stephen Schmutz, Latham’s attorney, said agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives took Latham into custody while he was on an outing with family and friends at Lake Jocassee in Salem. The 50-year-old Sullivan’s Island man is expected to be lodged in the Charleston County jail late Tuesday night, he said.
Schmutz said the indictment against Latham is sealed and he had no details as to the nature of the charges. Latham is expected to be arraigned in U.S. District Court in Charleston on Wednesday, he said.
A prosecutor handling the case with the U.S. Attorney’s could not immediately be reached for comment late Tuesday.
The ATF has been the lead investigative agency probing the alleged murder-for-hire plot targeting Latham’s estranged wife, Nancy Latham, a Mount Pleasant real estate agent and state lottery official.
Chris Latham, through his attorneys, has strongly denied any involvement in the alleged plot.
The Lathams have accused each other of adultery and other misbehavior, but their already contentious divorce reached a whole new level in April when the alleged murder-for-hire plot was exposed.
Charged in the plot were 38-year-old Samuel Yenawine of Louisville, Ky.; Yenawine’s ex-wife, 37-year-old Wendy Annette Moore, identified as Chris Latham’s girlfriend and former assistant at Bank of America; Yenawine’s girlfriend, Rachel Palmer, 36, and Russell Wilkinson, 39, both of Louisville.
Yenawine hanged himself June 25 inside his cell at the Georgetown County jail. The other three remain in jail.
In addition to facing criminal charges, Yenawine and his co-defendants were being sued by Nancy Latham in civil court over the alleged murder plot.
The suit alleges that Chris Latham was involved in the plot with Moore, his live-in girlfriend. He has denied that allegation, and had not been charged with a crime.
The alleged plot came to light after Wilkinson was stopped by Charleston police while looking to buy heroin on the East Side. Police found a gun in his car, and he volunteered information about the scheme to kill Nancy Latham to officers, police said. Yenawine was back in Kentucky at that point and was arrested later.
Moore is accused of hiring Yenawine to do the job, and he, in turn, contracted Wilkinson’s services to “watch his back,” Senior Agent Joseph Boykin of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has testified.
The would-be killers bought disposable cellphones so their communications couldn’t be traced, then traveled to the Lowcountry, where they met with Moore to collect a $5,000 down payment and receive a “hit package” full of photographs, maps, schedules and other information on Nancy Latham and her family, Boykin said.
Though Latham had not been implicated by federal authorities, he was given the choice in late May of resigning, retiring or facing immediate termination from his position at the bank, according to court filings. He chose to retire in May, according to emails filed as evidence in court.
A Charleston County Family Court judge last month allowed Chris Latham to dip into his savings to help pay $8,500 monthly support to his estranged wife . But the judge denied the former bank executive’s request to cut off or reduce his payments to her.
Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556 or Twitter.com/glennsmith5.