Maureen O’Connor, now aged 66, had an exemplary reputation in San Diego. This Democratic former mayor who was in office from 1986 to 1992 was the first woman to occupy the position. However nothing predestined this ex- physical education teacher for such a future. Her marriage to the founder of the very famous fast food chain, Jack in the Box, Robert Peterson, opened the way into high society. Despite her wealth, Maureen O’Connor never forgot where she came from and never hesitated to fight for the poorest even down to spending a night on the streets. Her popularity meant she was among the most respected people in San Diego.

Unfortunately, her future that was all mapped out didn’t unfold as it should have. It all started in 1994 when she lost her husband. She couldn’t get over his death and bit by bit sank into depression. In 2000 she had a personal fortune estimated at 50 million and started to visit casinos. To fulfil what quickly became a hobby which filled her days she didn’t hesitate to squander large amounts. So in the space of 9 years, she spent a billion dollars in casinos in Las Vegas, San Diego and Atlantic City. She became a VIP client that the casinos cosseted. But without noticing it, Maureen O’Connor became totally addicted to gambling. She had to give up several of her properties, her art collections and her jewellery. But all of that wasn’t enough to cover her debts which reached 13 million dollars. She turned at that point to the foundation created by her husband and which has his name to take 2 million dollars from it. It was for this act that Maureen O’Connor was accused in February of embezzling money to feed her gambling addiction.

The defendant, who was operated on last year for a brain tumour now has difficulty moving about and is suffering a lot from of memory loss. She explained to the San Diego court judge that she didn’t wish to hurt anyone and that she was prepared to repay the whole amount. The judge accepted this and gave her two years to clear the debt. Now Maureen O’Connor hopes to win the court case which is ongoing against German bankers in order to repay her debt as quickly as possible.