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Maureen O’Connor, San Diego’s former mayor, lost $1 billion in gambling habit

- 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.

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.

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