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Former Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington charged with fraud

Peter Pocklington, of Canada, the former owner of the Edmonton Oilers NHL hockey team, arrives at U.S. District Court for sentencing on perjury charges, in Riverside, Calif., on Oct. 27, 2010.
Peter Pocklington, of Canada, the former owner of the Edmonton Oilers NHL hockey team, arrives at U.S. District Court for sentencing on perjury charges, in Riverside, Calif., on Oct. 27, 2010. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP - Reed Saxon

A former owner of the Edmonton Oilers is being accused by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of defrauding investors.

In a news release issued on Thursday, the SEC said Peter Pocklington and his medical device company have been charged with fraud.

“The SEC alleges that in 2010, Pocklington pleaded guilty to a federal felony perjury charge and was later ordered to pay over $5 million as part of a settlement for unrelated state securities fraud and registration charges,” the SEC said. “Pocklington subsequently founded, and now controls, California-based The Eye Machine LLC (now known as Nova Oculus Partners LLC), a medical device company that raised over $14 million between 2014 and 2017 from more than 260 investors in unregistered offerings.”

READ MORE: Peter Pocklington wins appeal of probation violation ruling in U.S. court

The SEC alleges Pocklington and his attorney, Lantson E. Eldred, set up ownership of The Eye Machine in such a way as to hide Pocklington’s role.

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“In the offerings, Pocklington, Eldred and The Eye Machine allegedly failed to disclose Pocklington’s checkered history and involvement, and misrepresented how investor funds would be spent,” the news release said, also alleging Pocklington “misappropriated” more than $600,000 of investors’ money for personal use, including to fund his gold mining companies and to pay his personal legal and credit card bills.

READ MORE: Peter Pocklington appeals conviction, avoids prison time

Watch below: Some Global News videos about Peter Pocklington.

“Investors should know when a recidivist plays a central role in a company’s operations and offerings,” said Michele W. Layne, director of the SEC’s Los Angeles Regional Office. “Investors should research the background of anyone offering an investment, but they can only do this if the offering accurately and adequately discloses the individuals involved.”

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The SEC also alleges The Eye Machine paid millions of dollars in “undisclosed and excessive sales commissions” to people who acted as unregistered brokers for the company.

The SEC’s complaint was filed in federal court in California and charges Pocklington, Eldred and The Eye Machine with violating anti-fraud and securities registration provisions of U.S. federal securities laws.

Other people and entities, including The Eye Machine’s in-house accountant, have also been charged with securities fraud violations and securities registration violations in connection with the investigation.

“The complaint seeks injunctive relief, disgorgement and interest, and penalties,” the SEC said.

READ MORE: Former Oilers owner Peter Pocklington given standing O by fans at ’84 team reunion

Watch below: In October 2014, Shallima Maharaj filed this report after thousands of Edmonton Oilers fans packed Rexall Place as the entire 1984 Stanley Cup-winning team reunited after 30 years.

Pocklington is known for being the owner of the Edmonton Oilers during their heyday in the 1980s.

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Pocklington brought Wayne Gretzky to the Oilers in the 1970s before eventually trading him to the Los Angeles Kings.

He sold the Oilers in 1998 and now lives in California.

-With files from The Canadian Press

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