According to a news release made available to the general public only yesterday by U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy, Maureen O'Connor, who served as the mayor of San Diego between the years 1986-1992, lost over $1 billion (roughly €0.74 billion) gambling.
This might not have been such a big issue were it not for the fact that said former San Diego mayor also gambled away some $2 million (about €1.5 million) that she took from her late husband's, i.e. Robert O. Peterson, charity foundation, causing it to go bankrupt.
“As revealed in court documents, between 2000 and 2009, O'Connor won more than $1 billion while gambling in various casinos in Las Vegas, Atlantic City and San Diego. Despite these immense winnings, she suffered even larger gambling losses - resulting in a sizable net loss,” U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy, wrote in said news release.
Because of these major losses, Maureen O'Connor was forced to take money from her husband's charity foundation, hoping that might help get her back on track.
“At that point, she turned to the Foundation's assets to both pay her outstanding debts and continue her high-stakes gambling. Between September 2008 and March 2009, O'Connor misappropriated more than $2,088,000 (€1,559,380) from the foundation,” the news release states.
The money transfers from the charity foundation's to Maureen O'Connor's personal bank accounts took place between September 2008 and March 2009.
As explained in the news release, Maureen O'Connor was specifically prohibited by the legal policies that Robert O. Peterson's charity had at its basis to make use of whatever money the foundation managed to obtain.
“Defendant O'Connor was one of the three Trustees who were specifically prohibited from receiving a benefit from the Foundation,” U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy explains.
Because of this, Maureen O'Connor now finds herself charged with money laundering. Following her admitting that she did misappropriate the $2 million, the former mayor was asked to repay the now-bankrupt R.P. Foundation in two years' time.
As well as this, she must pay state and federal income taxes for the money she did win between 2000 and 2009, and agree to receive appropriate treatment for her gambling addiction, USA Today reports.
For the time being, the former San Diego mayor, who has recently undergone surgery for a brain tumor and finds herself in rather poor health, maintains that she has always wanted to return the money to the foundation.