Ex-San Diego mayor Maureen O'Connor acknowledged in federal court on Thursday that she took $2.1 million from her late husband's charitable foundation during a decade-long gambling spree.
O'Connor, 66, said that she won, and lost, more than $1 billion during her incredible gambling steak.
According to Fox News, O'Connor pleaded not guilty to a money laundering charge in an agreement with the Justice Department. As part of the pact, prosecution will be deferred for two years while O'Connor tries to repay the foundation and receives treatment for her gambling problem.
O'Connor inherited much of her fortune from her husband of 17 years, Robert O. Peterson, founder of the Jack in the Box fast-food chain. It is estimated that she may have had between $40 million and $50 million. O'Connor is now completely out of cash and living with her sister.
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At a news conference, O'Connor indicated that it was always her intention to repay the money she had taken from the foundation. She also seemed to place some of the blame for her behavior on a brain tumor that was diagnosed in 2011.
“There are two Maureens -- Maureen No. 1 and Maureen No. 2,” said O'Connor. “Maureen No. 2 is the Maureen who did not know she had a tumor growing in her brain.”
During her gambling streak, which lasted from 2000 to 2009, O'Connor's game of choice was video poker. She would go to casinos in San Diego, Las Vegas and Atlantic City, N.J. and play for hours and hours.
U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy had some harsh words for O'Connor.
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“Maureen O'Connor was a selfless public official who contributed much to the well-being of San Diego,” said Duffy. “However, no figure, regardless of how much good they've done or how much they've given to charity, can escape criminal liability with impunity.”
Source: (Fox News)