Patricia Latham, wanted for slip and fall fraud charges in two counties, was tricked into jail by her bail bondsman. Barry Ratner duped Latham, 52, into thinking he was going to give her bail money for charges she faced in Palm Beach County.
"I didn't tell her she was going back to jail," Ratner said. "It was my opportunity to slip her in there and make sure she didn't get out."
Before Ratner took Latham to the jail Thursday, he told her: "Your scamming days are over."
"She laughed," Ratner said.
Two weeks ago, Latham disappeared with her husband, Leroy, 62, when they learned Palm Beach County wanted to charge them with insurance fraud, grand theft and perjury. The charges stem from a bogus 1988 lawsuit she filed after she fell in Don Carter's All Star Lanes Ltd. in Boca Raton.
Independence, Mo., police caught up with Leroy Latham on Tuesday when he tried to pick up some money at a private mail drop there.
Since 1986, Latham has sued at least two restaurants and a bowling alley after she slipped and fell on their premises. She received $500,000 from a West Palm Beach McDonald's in 1986, but ran into trouble when she sued the Boca Raton bowling alley in 1988.
The bowling alley's insurance investigators learned the suit was phony and made Latham pay them $62,238 in legal fees.
Broward County prosecutors later filed charges against Latham because she collected $14,950 in disability payments from the Broward school system, claiming that because she slipped in the bowling alley she couldn't work at her teaching position.
Latham's attorney, Ron Baum, thought little of the bondsman's actions.
"I hope she can live through the anguish that's about to be bestowed upon her," Baum said. "She's sitting in jail thinking that the bondsman is going to help her. Basically I'll have to visit her in jail and break the bad news to her."