Woman Who Thought She Was Dying Stole $644K

Cancer patient Shirley Player ended up bouncing back—but not from her crime
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2014 7:05 PM CDT
Woman Thought She'd Die Before Getting Caught for $644K Theft
Stock image   (Shutterstock)

A British woman who was quite sure her cancer would kill her sooner rather than later decided to steal nearly $644,000 from her employer—but she ended up beating the disease and is now going to prison to serve a four-year sentence. Shirley Player, 61, stole about $92,000 a year between 2007 and 2014 from the real estate company she worked for to "settle debts, pay rents, and [buy] 'family treats,'" a prosecutor at her trial said in court—and it was all because "she had not expected to be still here," the attorney added. One of Player's defense attorneys told the court that she was simply trying to plan ahead for her almost-certain demise, the Daily Express reports. "She told me she had wanted to do something for her family as she was not going to be here much longer," he said. "I asked her where the money went. She does not know."

Player was said to have made 390 transactions into four separate accounts over the seven-year period, hiding them as "tenant deposit returns," the Daily Mail notes. The theft was eventually discovered this year during a company audit. Player was also maybe relying too heavily on prescience: Even though she didn't have cancer when she started her stealing spree—she wasn't diagnosed until 2010—Player had had two sisters who succumbed to cancer and figured it was only a matter of time before she did, too. Even Player's husband, Malcolm, says he had no clue about the pilfered cash until the cops came calling. "We weren't driving around in Bentleys and drinking champagne," he says. "We might have gone out for the odd steak dinner." (This mom was accused of tricking her son into believing he had cancer.)

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