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$1 BILLION Won And Lost At Video Poker Over Nine Years By Widow To 'Jack In The Box' Founder

Former San Diego Mayor Admits To Using Fortune, Charity Money For Habit

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It turns out that one of the biggest and most consistent high rollers in Las Vegas over much of the past decade was a former public official from California who loved video poker.

A former San Diego mayor who has admitted to misappropriating charitable funds in order to feed her nearly decade-long gambling addiction had tax records showing more than $1 billion in winnings over the period, according to court documents filed last week.

However, the 66-year-old also reported losses greater than those winnings.

Maureen O’Connor is also widow to the founder of the successful Jack in the Box restaurant chain, and she served as a trustee for her late husband’s charity.

The gambling spree ran from 2000 to 2009; her late husband died in 1994; and O’Connor left office as San Diego’s mayor in 1992.

Her personal finances eventually became so disastrous that in 2008 O’Connor had to liquidate her savings, sell real estate, auction personal items and obtain second and third mortgages on her California home in order to pay back the casinos that lent her money.

It was around then that she also turned to taking money from the R.P. Foundation in order to keep playing. Up until that point, her gambling was apparently funded by her personal fortune, which was not disclosed. Jack in the Box Inc takes in more than $2 billion a year in revenue.

Altogether, O’Connor took about $2.1 million from the charity.

In order to not to serve a day of a potential 10-year prison sentence, O’Connor, her attorneys and prosecutors said OK to a “deferred prosecution agreement.”

For the next two years O’Connor must not break the law again, must receive treatment for her gambling addiction and must remain under government supervision. She also must repay the R.P. foundation and make good on federal income taxes, though prosecutors acknowledged her ability to satisfy the financial requirements is “limited.”

According to court papers, O’Connor is broke and “unable to work due to significant medical issues, caused at least in part by surgery to remove a brain tumor and a stroke.”

In 2011, doctors removed a benign tumor from her brain, but there were complications.

According to a letter from her physician, O’Connor reported that after her husband died she began compulsive gambling. “Given the physical slow growth pattern of a meningioma she wonders if her uncharacteristic behavior may have been due to the brain tumor, given that she has had no urge to gamble since its removal,” her doctor added.

CNN has more on the scandal.

Image via the Associated Press.

 
 
Tags: Gambling,   Casinos,   California
 
 

Comments

EconomistMark2011
almost 9 years ago

This is a joke right!?!?!? how the hell do you steal $2.1 million from a charity go gamble with the money and not serve even a night in jail???

 
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