Murder-for-hire suspect Chris Latham, a former banker who once commanded a $600,000 annual salary, has filed for bankruptcy as he sits in the Charleston County jail awaiting trial on allegations that he plotted to kill his wife.
An attorney for Latham, 50, filed the petition Tuesday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, estimating that his client has no more than $50,000 in assets and about the same amount of debts. The filing does not list his debts or assets.
His attorney, Michael Drose of Charleston, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Columbia attorney George Cauthen, who represents Latham’s estranged wife, Nancy, declined to comment on the petition.
Chris Latham has complained of money problems in the past, including the $8,500 payments he was ordered to shell out monthly to support his wife while their divorce case winds its way toward trial.
The pair have been entangled for two years in a bitter divorce proceeding, in which each has accused the other of infidelity.
Federal criminal charges were filed against Chris Latham in August, about four months after allegations were made of a plot to kill Nancy Latham, a Mount Pleasant real estate agent and state lottery official. He is being held without bail in the county jail.
A judge issued an order this month that appointed a sequestrator who will take control of $99,000 Chris Latham has reportedly saved after the divorce was filed.
The sequestrator is ordered to use that money to pay unpaid and ongoing obligations to Nancy Latham, which had already been set in previous orders.
According to the order, the sequestrator is also ordered to liquidate Latham’s retirement and other investment accounts to pay the following: all fees associated with the sequestrator, $46,000 Chris Latham had previously received from Merrill Lynch without permission from the court to be paid to Nancy Latham, $100,000 to Chris and Nancy Latham as an advance to the marital estate, and $13,641 to Nancy Latham for her attorney fees generated since July 15.
Latham’s attorneys had argued that he is unemployed, has no income and is without the means to pay the current level of support his wife has been receiving. He left his high-paying job at Bank of America in May.
The subject of Chris Latham’s finances has come up several times throughout the criminal and divorce cases, and federal prosecutors questioned during one hearing in the criminal proceeding whether Latham was bankrolling the legal bills for 37-year-old Wendy Moore, his girlfriend and co-defendant.
A sealed motion filed in the criminal case in September by federal prosecutors lists a number of checks totaling between $25,000 and $90,000 as exhibits. Those exhibits also are sealed, but attached descriptions list payments to attorneys for Moore and her ex-husband, Samuel Yenawine, a former co-defendant in the case who committed suicide while in custody in June.
In addition to Yenawine and Moore, charged in the case are Yenawine’s girlfriend, Rachel Palmer, 36, and his former prison cellmate, Russell Wilkinson, 39, both of Louisville. Wilkinson told Charleston police about the alleged plot after he was pulled over on the city’s East Side while trying to buy heroin in April, according to court documents.