The $1 billion gambling loss of former San Diego Mayor Maureen O'Connor continues to make headlines in the UK.
The headline in Friday's Guardian read, "Ex-San Diego mayor admits stealing millions to fund gambling addiction
"Maureen O'Connor strikes deal allowing her to defer prosecution while she tries to repay the money and receives treatment"
The UK's Daily Mail also featured a prominent story on the case.
The question many are asking is what possessed O'Connor to at one point being ahead by $1 billion and gamble it all away? The Jack-in-the-Box heiress told reporters that at that time, she was undergoing a lot of stress, with the loss of her husband, three siblings and two of her best friends all in the same time period.
O'Connor, 66, wagered one billion dollars primarily on video poker machines in San Diego, Las Vegas and Atlantic City, N.J.
In court Thursday, the fast-food heiress admitted to taking $2 million from her late husband’s foundation to support her gambling addiction.
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 the fast-food heiress 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.
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