The UK’s Daily Mail headline read, “Former San Diego mayor admits to winning and losing $1BILLION gambling in eight years...funded by stealing from charity.”
O’Connor, 66, wagered a staggering one billion dollars on gambling, primarily on video poker machines, the Los Angeles Times reports.
O’Connor’s late husband, Robert O. Peterson, founded Jack in the Box restaurants. They married in 1977. She was 30 years his junior. Peterson died in 1994.
(A video report of the story from San Diego is below.)
The former mayor agreed to repay the $2 million to the charity as part of a deal to defer prosecution for two years during which time she hopes to raise the money to repay the debt. She says she is nearly destitute.
O’Connor was mayor for two terms from 1986 to 1992.
The LA Times reports that O'Connor appeared frail in court and cried as she admitted to skimming more than $2 million from the charity.
Well-know and respected defense attorney Eugene Iredale is representing O’Connor. He said that a brain tumor may have impaired his client’s reasoning. To back that claim, he supplied reporters with a brain scan from her 2011 surgery.
O'Connor ranked up the losses between 2000 and 2009, according to court documents. When she ran out of her huge fortune, she began taking money from her husband’s R.P. Foundation to help pay for the losses.
At one point, O'Connor was ahead by more than $1 billion, Iredale said, but she suffered even greater losses. The attorney added that her net loss was in the end was $13 million.
O'Connor frequented Las Vegas where she was given VIP treatment.
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