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Former San Diego Mayor Lost $1 Billion Over Gambling; Must Undergo Treatment For 'Addiction'

By Staff Writer | February 14, 2013 09:13 PM EST

Maureen O'Connor, the former San Diego mayor and fast-food heiress acknowledged in federal court of draining $2 million from her late husband's charitable foundation to fund her addiction to video poker and lost $1 billion over the course of a decade.

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O'Connor is now facing charges of money laundering and she pleaded not guilty as part of a deal with federal prosecutors that will defer the charges for two years as she works to repay the debt.

According to a news release from U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy O'Connor must also pay state and federal income taxes on the more than $1 billion she won gambling between 2000 and 2009 and undergo treatment for her "addiction." And she lost most of it gambling in San Diego, Las Vegas and Atlantic City.

The government by early 2008 said, O'Conner had "incurred large, outstanding gambling debts at a number of different casinos. Prosecutors said it was between September 2008 and March 2009 when O'Conner' drained the foundation of its assets. She admits to taking the money however maintains that it was "loans" that she intended to repay.

Eugene Iredale, attorney for O'Conner stated that his client had severe health problems, including a brain tumor that led to her gambling addiction, according to NBC.

O'Conner after serving eight years on city council became the first female mayor of San Diego. She was married to Jack-in-the-Box founder Robert O. Peterson from 1977 until his death in 1994. Her estate was worth $40 to $50 million at one point.

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