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Prosecutors: Former San Diego Mayor Gambled Away $1 Billion

In a federal court today, prosecutors said former San Diego Mayor Maureen O'Connor misappropriated $2 million of her late husband's charitable foundation because of a gambling addiction.

During a period between 2000 and 2008, reports the San Diego Union Tribune, prosecutors say O'Connor gambled away more than $1 billion.

The paper reports:

"O'Connor, 66, appeared in federal court and pleaded not guilty to a money laundering charge as part of a deferred prosecution. Under the arrangement with federal prosecutors, she has two years to repay the $2 million taken from the R.P. Foundation, a nonprofit set up by her late husband, Robert O. Peterson.

"Peterson was the co-founder of the Jack-In-The-Box restaurant chain and later Southern California First National Bank Corp., which eventually became part of the Union Bank empire."

The AP reports that O'Connor was the Democratic mayor of San Diego from 1986 to 1992.

"The two-term mayor was elected San Diego's first female leader after eight years on the City Council," the AP reports.

NBC San Diego reports that O'Connor blamed her "video poker habit" on a brain tumor.

They report she entered the courtroom using a cane and during the hearing she answered "haltingly."

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