Peter Pocklington appeals conviction, avoids prison time
EDMONTON – Former Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington will not be going to prison in the United States on Monday as previously planned.
In September, Pocklington was sentenced to six months jail time, six months of house arrest, and two more years of probation, after a judge in California ruled that the 71-year-old had violated the terms of his probation by submitting an inaccurate monthly income report, a task he was ordered to complete following a conviction for perjury.
Pocklington was set to begin his prison sentence on Monday, Dec. 9. However, Global News has learned Pocklington is expected to remain free on bail until the appeal is heard.
“I have appealed my conviction and the 9th Circuit Court in San Francisco has agreed to hear it. That should happen in the next year to 18 months. My lawyer tells me we have a strong case,” Pocklington said in an emailed statement.
The legal troubles date back to 2008, when he filed a bankruptcy claim stating he was virtually penniless, with less than $3,000 in the bank and liabilities approaching US$20 million. The following year, the FBI raided his home in Palm Desert, near Palm Springs, and put him under arrest.
He later admitted in court that he had declared bankruptcy without disclosing that h
e had control over bank accounts and storage facilities containing assets and property of his wife.
In 2010, Pocklington pleaded guilty to perjury for lying during previous bankruptcy proceedings. In exchange, charges of bankruptcy fraud were dropped.
He was sentenced to six months of house arrest and two years probation.
He was also ordered to turn over property and file tax returns for previous years when he claimed he had no income.
But he was not required to pay restitution to creditors, including the Alberta government, which loaned the businessman money to prop up his meat-packing company in 1988. A Canadian court later ruled that Pocklington owned the province $13 million.
It’s still trying to get back its money.
Earlier this year, Pocklington and an associate were ordered to pay more than US$5 million to settle a securities fraud case in Arizona.
Pocklington grew up in London, Ont., and parlayed a used car business into a financial empire that came to include professional hockey.
He left Edmonton for California more than a decade ago, leaving behind angry creditors and hockey fans still heartbroken over the infamous trade that sent Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings.
With files from The Associated Press.
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