Texas Woman Allegedly Fakes Breast Cancer to Pay for Breast Implants

image_8678589We have previously seen stories where people fake cancer or illnesses to get friends and co-workers to give them money. However, Trista Joy Lathern, 24, of Texas takes the cake. She is accused of faking breast cancer in order to get friends to donate money, so she could get breast implants to save her failing marriage.

Friends and neighbors of Lathern put together a charitable benefit and raised $10,000 by taking time off from their vacation allowance and even donating hours of work pay to her. A flier asked people to attend the benefit at the Hog Creek Icehouse, noting that Lathern has two boys and no insurance. Her husband claimed that he believed that she had breast cancer until a police detective told him last month. This may be true, but I am curious how a husband is not present for at least one visit with a doctor to discuss his wife’s prognosis and treatment.

Investigator James Pack alleges that she even shaved her head to pretend to be going through chemotherapy.

Various businesses donated items and at least three bands donated their time to play at the benefit.

A local plastic surgeon became suspicious after he learned about the benefit — and the fact that Lathern asked only about the breast implants and never mentioned chemotherapy. He was given cash for the breast enlargement and reported it to the police.

It is not a crime to pretend that you have an illness, but, when you use that fraud to obtain gifts, you move from being a horrible person to being a horrible criminal defendant. What will be challenging for her lawyer will be to use the two boys as a basis for a claim of mercy when they were previously used as a basis for the alleged fraud.

For the full story, click here.

56 thoughts on “Texas Woman Allegedly Fakes Breast Cancer to Pay for Breast Implants

  1. My wife and I are sickly addicted to plastic surgery reality shows on TV. We watch them to view the insanity of people believing that they can fight aging. It is amazing how women have been sold on believing the breast to be the “ne plus ultra” of sexual allure. There follows the corollary that by increasing their breast size they will be more attractive. In truth this is bolstered by immature males who at heart are trying to replicate the suckling feeling of babyhood and are focused on large mammaries. It is further backed up by the advertising industry and the film industry.

    Personally, I’ve always been attracted to women’s faces, intelligence and interesting other parts. I’m not anti-breast, but have found small ones every bit as interesting as large ones. In the end it is the intelligence and personality of a woman that makes her attractive to me at least, since I’ve had some success with women I attribute it not to my charm and looks, but to the fact that I appreciate them for their entire personhood.

  2. “I am curious how a husband is not present for at least one visit with a doctor to discuss his wife’s prognosis and treatment.”

    Not every husband is a mensch like you and your readers, Jonathan. My wife and I would never go through anything potentially life-changing without supporting each other and talking things through. (I went through this once with my wife; a lump was discovered on her breast that fortunately turned out to be a benign cyst. But we went through every step of the ordeal together.)

    That said, I am amazed at how non-sharing– or non-caring– some husbands are about their wives’ “female issues.” Ms. Lathern likely manipulated her none-too-sharp hubby the same way she manipulated her community. Which makes him stupid, but not complicit.

  3. “I am curious how a husband is not present for at least one visit with a doctor to discuss his wife’s prognosis and treatment.”

    This is an excellent point. My wife accompanies me to all of my major medical exams and procedures. I have discovered that I tend to listen to about half of what any Doctor tells me, my mind drifting off to the implications, rather than focusing on the details. My wife takes good notes and asks pertinent questions that I would fail to do. By the same token, although she is far more healthy, I perform the same role. To me this is a part of being a spouse.

  4. This is not all that uncommon for men to thing that a woman with big Breasts are the best. It is the eye of the soul that I now strive for. I will admit that big Breasts will bring out the Beasts in most men.

    Professor, I will add to you commentary that you stated that she wanted to have the implants because of her failing marriage. Note, benefit took place at the Hog Creek Icehouse. Then consider that it is only 9 or 10 miles from Crawford, Texas near Waco. I think you have you answer, brains are short sided there. What more needs be said. Oh yeah, Bush called Crawford home while in Washington, thats it.

  5. This is a perfect example of why this government needs to provide free breast enlargements.

    I’m not buying the “save the marriage” story. That’s just a little too convenient.

  6. If a woman needs breast implants to save her marriage–my assumption would be that the marriage wasn’t worth the salvage effort.

    And men who are attracted to women only because they are extremely well endowed are definitely big boobs themselves.

  7. Sad that this poor woman felt such pressure. It doesn’t appear to me to be based on vanity merely desperation. Society demands too much sometimes: beauty, intelligence, personality, financial success, sexual prowess, perfect morals, et al, ad nauseum. To what end?

  8. There are multiple issues raised in this story. First, why doesn’t this person have health care? There is no reason our society cannot provide health care to every person. It is obscene that people who really do have cancer, including those with insurance, must have fund raisers to pay for their treatment.

    Secondly, big boobs are pushed by this extremely ignorant society. I’m certain this woman did feel pressure to “go big” and that is a part of living in a society that values women for body parts instead of as people.

    Nevertheless, to lie to other people is quite cruel. Taking advantage of other’s kindness and sympathy is a really low down thing to do. I hope she is able to return all money and pay back anyone’s time by doing something of value with her time for their sake. The people who offered to help should be honored by her with an apology and all attempts to make it right between them.

  9. yes i agree with swarthmore, who i cannot tell if she is being sarcastic or not. Larry McMurtry touches upon it in The Last Picture Show.
    what i am surprised with is the fact that other people seem to be surprised.
    Politicians sell themselves to the highest bidder using lies and extortion why shouldn’t the little people?

  10. Jim I am not being sarcastic. I have lived in Texas long enough to see what goes on in many aspects of life here.

  11. Swartzmoremom speaks the truth. In some parts of Dallas plastic is king.

    It is true, Horatio or was that Horus.

  12. nal:

    Your caring is remarkable. Desperate people do desperate things, and I have no evidence contrary to her explanation here. This was no grab for cash in my judgment given she intended to have the procedure.

    I once represented a stockbroker who stole from parents, family, and close friends in a remarkable breach of fiduciary duty and filial trust. When I went to inquire about restitution amounts, no one wanted anything paid back. While no one condones a thief or the theft, there are differences in motivation that cause us all to pause. The person stealing bread to avoid hunger fares differently in most people’s minds than Bernie Madoff. Who’s to say keeping her marriage intact for her kids was any less important to her than her basic needs.

    Sadly, we can’t confidently judge a person’s character nor so easily correct it, as as we do their grammar.

  13. With regards to the questions about “How can a husband not catch this,” I’ll tell a story about my mother.

    I’m my mother’s oldest son. We are closer than she is to my brothers. She’s still married to my stepfather (and the “still married” comment will make sense in a moment).

    About nine? years ago, my mother started having severe headaches and pains in the right side of her head. Also, she started getting dizzy and she started losing hearing in her right ear. She went to the doc and he could not figure it out. She got a CAT scan and they found a tumor wrapped around the nerves going to her right ear. When she came home and told my stepfather, he responded with something like “So what do you want me to do about it? You know I could have a brain tumor too with all the headaches I have.” He then got up and walked out into the back yard and smoked a cigar.

    So I can see how her husband would not know. Now I’m not saying her husband was like this but he definitely could not be involved in this sort of thing (leaving him open to being duped).

  14. The sheriff’s office started its investigation Oct. 1 after an attorney for an undisclosed Waco plastic surgeon reported that…. “The surgeon advised the attorney that he felt he was possibly in possession of stolen money that Trista had raised and gave as a cash down payment in the amount of $3,509” for breast augmentation, Pack wrote.

    She said that after the fundraiser, she gave $3,500 to the local plastic surgeon for breast augmentation but later had the surgery done in Austin for about $6,800.”

    I think the answer lie in the surgeon not getting the business and he wanted the remaining money, like about $6,500 and she probably wanted back the $3,500. So rather than give the money back to her he called the cops and hung her out to dry so to speak. She went to Austin….

  15. mespo:

    She is an adult woman responsible for her own actions. She is not a “victim” of society. Vicitmhood portrays her as a puppet who doesn’t have the capacity of independent thought.

    She was desperate for big boobs. She says it was to save her marriage, but I find that reason highly suspect. I would not stay married to a woman just because she had big boobs and I suppose most men feel the same way. Unless her husband had given her specific reasons to think that he would remain married if she had big boobs, then the “saving the marriage” argument is self-delusion designed to mask the real reason.

  16. nal, I don’t know how old you are, but the terseness of your views on this topic suggest youthfulness. You may wish to consider the possibility that not every married man relishes his spouse for her moral virtue and inner beauty. In the course of practicing law for many years I have listened on more than one occasion to a woman describing a husband who viewed her as a renovation project, like redoing the family room. Unfortunately, there are many men for whom a wife is primarily an ornament to draw attention to himself. I have heard stories of men virtually insisting that their wives have various procedures done to reshape their bodies to conform to some sort of “ideal.” That many women attempt to comply is a psychological mystery that perhaps Mike S. can address. No one is suggesting that the lady in question is incapable of independent thought, but I am not surprised that she believed her enhancement would rekindle her husband’s desire for her. What is most tragic about this story is that her efforts were almost bound to fail in any event because she failed to understand that a relationship built upon such a shallow and selfish foundation seldom survives and never brings happiness.

  17. Sad to say, living in Texas I understand her motivations. When we feel good about our appearance we are more attractive to the opposite sex. The individual is often driven by physical attraction rather than intellectual ability. This is human nature. We may exclaim we are beyond those desires, but we have the basic want/need to procreate as almost all in the animal kingdom do. Even those who profess the soul is their attraction are drawn to the female breast.

  18. FF LEO,


    Motives are the causes or reasons that induce a person to form the intent to commit a crime. They are not the same as intent. Rather, they explains why the person acted to violate the law.

    Read more: http://law.jrank.org/pages/5865/Criminal-Law-Motives.html#ixzz0WTPFbhOl


    But they do weigh heavily and should when they are charged with committing a criminal act. They could possibly lack the mens rea even though they have completed the crime. Two elements to any crime and they are actus rea, which is completed here and mens rea. I am not certain beyond a reasonable doubt that she had the capacity based upon the totality of the circumstance. Madoff is a different class although he is guilty by plea of the crime committed.

    There is a distinction with a difference. If it does not help and she is found guilty of the charged crime then it will certainly help at sentencing, which is a separate hearing after guilt is established.

  19. This is another reason why Texas should secede from the Union. This woman sold her soul in an attempt to attract her husband with larger breasts. All of this in the land of the infamous big Boob himself, George W. Bush. Th truth is stranger than fiction, especially in Texas.

  20. I have lived in both Texas and in Los Angeles (the home of the plastic-enhanced lifestyle) and in my opinion augmented breasted are wildly unattractive. As Mike S. said, there is so much more to a woman than whether or not her breasts are “big”.

    I’ve dated beautiful women with smallish breasts and women who may not be considered “photogenic” but whom I find to be beautiful and attractive and alluring in so many other ways. But fake breasts, for me, can be a turn-off simply because they signal some real underlying issues going on. And the same can be said for men with pectoral implants and calf implants, or implants in places that I don’t even want to think about …

    And the idea that she needed them to “please her man” says a great deal about their relationship. If she is so needy so as to do anything to herself in order to keep him then she’s got some problems. And if he is so shallow so as to demand this from her, lose him.

    But then I’m a guy who has happily lived “tattoo-free” and never felt the need to buckle and get one simply because everyone else has one. I grew up thinking that rebels get tattoos. When you get a tattoo because everyone else has one, is that rebellion? I’d say that’s following a trend …

    And so I’ve resisted any urge to get a tat, cause I’m ‘Born to be Wild’.

    Also, I hear they hurt …

  21. Mike A:

    “You may wish to consider the possibility that not every married man relishes his spouse for her moral virtue and inner beauty.”

    They don’t? Then why be married to her? Romantic love should be physical, emotional and rational. What man would want a woman that thought that big boobs were important? She would be shallow and most likely a couple of eggs short of a dozen. Most likely he would be the same way or just a self absorbed prick.

    I gotta go with nal on this one, age has nothing to do with it. Sense of life yes, age no.

  22. Byron–

    nal said: “She is an adult woman responsible for her own actions. She is not a “victim” of society. Vicitmhood portrays her as a puppet who doesn’t have the capacity of independent thought.”

    Mike A. said and you quoted: “You may wish to consider the possibility that not every married man relishes his spouse for her moral virtue and inner beauty.”


    I think there are many woman involved in abusive relationships with husbands who don’t respect women. I’m not sure what the psychology of women who remain in such relationships is–but I do think many of these wives fear being left alone…fear not being able to support themselves…fear violence at the hands of their mates. Maybe these women are victims by choice…but maybe they were raised in abusive homes.

    Mike A. also wrote about some women being viewed as ornaments–or, if you will, eye candy–by their husbands. That’s for sure. Why else would so many rich old coots dispose of their first wives and then marry gorgeous young second wives?

  23. I don’t know whether the woman was abused or not. It is part of present day Texas culture to go to the bible church, get a boob job and then get some bling.

  24. Elaine M:

    it is very simple, in my opinion,-low self-esteem. Any woman who has an ounce of self respect would not let herself be treated in that manner.

    All of the traits you pointed to are, in my mind, symptoms of low self-esteem. I think we can argue about causation, whether it be a broken home, an abusive father or mother, being teased as a child, etc.

    As far as the old coot marrying a young wife, if he dropped her because he came into some money and wanted a hot young thing. I guess he has no character and is going to get what he deserves. When he starts drooling the hot young wife will have a “friend” and they will both watch the old guy die and laugh all the way to the bank.

    Just because you have money doesn’t mean you are immune from self delusion.

  25. Byron–

    I agree with you about low self-esteem–but I think some of these women have problems that go deeper than that. I think there are women who have little or no self-confidence who wouldn’t marry or remain with abusive men–or have breast enhancements to hold on to their husbands.

  26. It’s sad when people let the expectations of others drive them to bad actions. If a man isn’t happy with your body, ladies? Ask yourself, “Am I healthy?” and if if the answer is yes, goto step three on this logic tree and tell him to mind his own damn business. Optional Step 3a may then come into play in that if he finds you so unappealing then he is free not to kiss, rub or generally make lovey on your person and you are free to find someone who will.

    I like a nice brain on a gal. So no pressure for the plastic from me, ladies. As long as you’re not dumb on purpose and/or intrinsically evil, I like you just the way you are. A nice butt doesn’t hurt sure – I’m only human, but that brain, yeah . . . I like me a gal with a sexy mind. I’m just looking for a gal who can appreciate jokes about Werner Heisenberg and the smell of books. A gal who knows that pointillism isn’t a kind of food poisoning, but isn’t immune to giggling when someone mentions Balzac. Whose first question to aliens would be “Can we go for a spin?” not “Ya’ll ain’t from ’round these parts, are yuh?” A gal who laughs at Geraldo Rivera and Glenn Beck for all the right reasons. Conversely, she should also cry about Moustache and The Lunatic for all the right reasons too. A gal with an open mind, a healthy dose of common sense and heaping portion of questioning authority. Breast size, optional. Theft not required, nay, even discouraged.

  27. BIL–

    Then I suppose you won’t be signing up any time soon for the computer dating service known as BoobMatch.com.

    BTW, there are lots of us gals who aren’t all that attracted to men with washboard abs and well-developed pecs. I call such fellas biceptuals because they’re so in love with their own musculature. Many of us females prefer men with brains and senses of humor–who actually like and respect women…as long as they can change a tire for us.

  28. For one thing, from infancy on, girls/women are bombarded with advertising that urges them to remake themselves in order to be appealing to the opposite sex. Highlight that hair, clean up your pores, paint your nails, whiten your teeth, flatten your belly, lose weight, gain weight, do exercises to make your butt bigger/smaller.firmer, spray on perfume, stick out however much chest you have, get a tummy tuck to get rid of those pregnancy stretch marks, smear on a little more makeup, get rid of those wrinkles, have your legs waxed, get a tan, wear a thong (I loved the remark a few years ago by a comedienne who, in referring to thongs, said, “I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent my life trying to keep my underwear OUT of there”).

    It’s mostly a marketing gimmick, playing on the insecurities of women is big business, billions of greenbacks every year. How, oh how, are you ever going to snag a husband with those little bitty boobs? And we buy into it, only to find out that we have become the butt of jokes (pun intended). I, of course, have been immune to such capitalistic ploys…except for the nose job, the morphing from brunette to blond, and the never-to-be forgotten breast reduction after realizing I had too much of a good thing, and felt a frantic need to bring myself in line with what I perceived to be Hollywood glamour standards. Got myself a real bona-fidey husband too. He weren’t much, but I figger without the tummy tuck I done about as good as could be expected.

  29. Ms. EM’,

    You are the perfect addition to this blawg. You complement the other intelligent females who frequent this cyberspace and grace us with their presence—notwithstanding your genders’ sometimes-skewed feminine perspectives.

  30. Elaine,

    Biceptuals–that is great! Those are the guys moving along the beach looking at their stomachs, singing, “I am so into you!”

  31. nal–

    Well, if a man can’t change a tire–he should at least be able to climb the rungs of a ladder and get the dead leaves out of the gutter.

    The garbage take-out should be a shared responsibility.

  32. Leah,
    A salient comment. As a father of Daughters and a lifelong feminist it pisses me off greatly the myths that women are sold in society. The flip side is the crap men are sold. When the feminist movement began anew in the 1970’s I rejoiced in the belief that this could help both sexes. Unfortunately, like much in politics it got bogged down in issues far divorced from the movement’s original intent.

  33. Leah–

    I enjoy your “tongue-in-cheek” humor. I hope your bona-fidey husband does too.

    As for the thong line: “I don’t know about you, but I’ve spent my life trying to keep my underwear OUT of there”. That’s a keeper!

  34. “According to a study carried out by a Chicago sociologist in 2003, women with big breasts had ten point higher I.Q’s. on average than their less well endowed counterparts. This sociologist conducting the study, who admitted to being a 32A in breast size, looked at 1200 women of various breast sizes. She divided the women into five categories based on their breast measurements. These included extra-large, large, medium, small, and extra-small breast sizes”


    Looks like this young woman was just trying to increase her IQ.

  35. Byron–

    I had to laugh as I was reading the article you linked to.

    Question: Are women who have big breasts because they’ve had surgical implants inclined to have higher scores on intelligence tests?

    I wonder what test the sociologist used.

    I guess when getting into her bra, a woman could say that she’s just putting on her thinking cap.

    And I suppose that women who wear pushup bras are just attempting to look “smarter” to the opposite sex.

  36. Elaine M:

    “Question: Are women who have big breasts because they’ve had surgical implants inclined to have higher scores on intelligence tests?”

    My opinion, although not in anyway connected to the medical establishment, is probably not.

    “And I suppose that women who wear pushup bras are just attempting to look “smarter” to the opposite sex.”

    That is a big 10-4! LOL

  37. I just lost my good friend to cancer,how dare this so called WOMAN do such a thing!! And now they are thinking about taking the implants from her?????
    What are you thinking people?? Who is going to pay for this? Are you going to have a fund raiser for it?????????
    Let her pay for the operation and if she can’t afford it,lol,keep her in jail for the price as well.SHAME ON HER!!!!!!!

  38. Some conservatives want people who aren’t insured to rely on the kindness and charity of others.

    This woman’s community, thinking she had cancer, appears to have gone all-out and raised $10,000.

    How many weeks of cancer treatment do you think $10,000 buys?

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