- The Washington Times - Friday, February 15, 2013

How the mighty do fall. San Diego’s Maureen O'Connor was a rising star in the city’s political circles, winning a seat on the City Council at the young age of 25 and going on to serve two terms as a populist, crowd-pleasing mayor — a female first, for the city.

Thursday, she admitted in federal court she took $2.1 million from her dead husband’s charity foundation to fuel a gambling addiction — that lost her more than $1 billion over 10 years, according to a report by The Associated Press.

She pleaded not guilty to money laundering, in a deal with the Justice Department that puts her prosecution on hold for two years and gives her time to repay the foundation.

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Under the terms of the agreement, Ms. O’Connor, 66, will also receive help for a gambling problem, AP reports.

Gambling debts decimated her bank account.

AP reports she once held between $40 million and $50 million of inheritance from her husband, Robert Peterson, who founded the Jack in the Box Inc. fast-food chain. She now lives with her sister, AP reports.