Ex-US Mayor Maureen O’connor ‘Gambled Stolen Millions’

SAN DIEGO (TIP): A former mayor of San Diego hasagreed to repay millions of dollars pilfered from her latehusband’s charity to fuel a gambling addiction,prosecutors say.Maureen O’Connor, 66, mayor from 1986 to 1992, strucka deal with prosecutors to pay $2m (£1.3m) in restitutionand to settle tax liability.She must also receive treatment for her gamblingaddiction, prosecutors say.

If she meets the conditions of the deal, prosecutorssay they will drop a criminal case against her in twoyears.Federal prosecutors said Ms O’Connor suffered arange of health problems following the removal of abrain tumour in 2011, and all parties agreed she wouldnot be well enough to stand trial.”However, no figure, regardless of how much goodthey’ve done or how much they’ve given to charity, canescape criminal liability with impunity,” US AttorneyLaura Duffy said.Ms O’Connor was married to Robert Peterson, founderof fast food chain Jack in the Box. He created acharitable foundation before he died in 1994, courtdocuments show.Friends say Ms O’Connor’s “grief gambling” beganaround 2001 and over the course of four years developedinto an addiction, the Associated Press reported.

‘$1bn won’
Her preferred game was video poker.Prosecutors say that between 2000 and 2009, MsO’Connor won more than $1bn in casinos in Las Vegas,San Diego and Atlantic City, but took even bigger losses.She mortgaged or sold most of her assets to pay offher debts and to continue gambling.Between September 2008 and March 2009 sheembezzled more than $2m from her late husband’sorganisation and, despite taking in some significantwinnings, she “threw good money after bad” andcontinued to gamble, prosecutors said.The foundation was eventually forced into bankruptcyin April 2009.

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