Former San Diego Mayor Claims Grief Lead to Gambling Debt

Maureen O'Connor says the death of her husband caused her to gamble away billions.
1:52 | 02/15/13

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Transcript for Former San Diego Mayor Claims Grief Lead to Gambling Debt
We're going turn now to the story of a lost fortune for the former mayor of san diego, maureen o'connor. She gambled away millions, authorities say. Her excuse? Grief gambling after the death of her husband, who, by the way, founded the jack-in-the-box food chain, which is where much of that money came from. Here's nick watt. Reporter: Maureen o'conner, a one-time mayor of san diego, was a model citizen and a multi-millionair wife of jack in the box founder robert peterson. Video poker proved her downfall. I never meant to hurt the city I loved. Reporter: During nine years of hard gambling in vegas, atlantic city, and san diego, msz o'connor wagered well over $1 billion. That's more than $300,000 every single day, more than $12,500 every single hour, waking and sleeping. Her total losses -- $13 million. I did borrow the money from my husband's foundation. Reporter: That's why she landed in court. Over $2 million taken from a charity set up by the late husband. She'd already remortgaged her her possessions. Apparently spent her last dime. Peterson died in '94 with o'connor by his side. She claims grief drove her to gambling. I lost my husband, I lost three of my siblings. I lost my two best friends. It can be triggered by grief, loss, stress, medications. Gambling simply too . Reporter: O'connor has a brain tumor during the gambling years. In the centers of the brain that affect and control logic, reasoning, and most importantly, judgment. Reporter: Ms. O'connor is now 66 years old, in poor health. The court just gave her probation and two years to pay back that $2 million. Nick watt, abc news, los angeles.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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