A former California mayor admitted in federal court on Thursday to stealing more than $2 million from her dead husband's charity to fuel a $1 billion gambling binge.


According to KPCC-FM, Maureen O'Connor revealed her activities as part of an deferred-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice. The former mayor of San Diego pleaded not guilty to money-laundering charges, and now has two years to repay the charity.

O'Connor's attorney said the former mayor suffered from a gambling addiction that caused her to lose $13 million, mostly playing video poker at casinos both locally and in Nevada and New Jersey.

The Associated Press reported that O'Connor, who served as mayor from 1986 to 1992, blamed her gambling largess on a brain tumor that was not diagnosed until 2011.

"There are two Maureens — Maureen No. 1 and Maureen No. 2," she said in a statement. "Maureen No. 2 is the Maureen who did not know she had a tumor growing in her brain."

O'Connor inherited between $40 million and $50 million from her late husband, fast food magnate Robert O. Peterson. But her attorney said she is now almost broke, and living with her sister.

Watch KFMB-TV's report on O'Connor's court appearance, aired Thursday, below.