Former Oilers owner Peter Pocklington gets home detention in perjury case

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Former Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington was sentenced Wednesday to six months of home detention for making false statements in his Southern California bankruptcy case.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips also ordered Pocklington, 68, to serve two years probation, pay $3,000 in fines and perform 100 hours of community service.

Pocklington pleaded guilty to a single perjury count in May and could have received a maximum 10-year prison term.

He was arrested last year at his Palm Desert home.

Prosecutors said he concealed assets during bankruptcy proceedings in which he claimed to have about $3,000 and owed more than $19 million, including nearly $13 million in principal and interest from a loan the Alberta provincial government said it provided Pocklington’s meatpacking company in 1988.

Pocklington, however, failed to note that he controlled two bank accounts and two storage facilities in California, according to court documents.

In a statement given to media following his sentencing, Pocklington said he accepts responsibility for signing bankruptcy documents without fully examining them.

“It was wrong of me to do so and for that I apologize,” he said.

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Phillips said she was troubled by comments Pocklington made to the media after he pleaded guilty in which he said he hadn’t done anything wrong. Pocklington’s attorney, Brent Romney, said the remarks were made in reference to allegations his client had tried to defraud his creditors and not about the perjury case.

Pocklington sought to have the length of home detention reduced in exchange for more community service, but Phillips wasn’t swayed, even though she noted the former sports owner had an extraordinary record of philanthropy, especially helping children.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Lokey said there was no proof that Pocklington was stashing money in offshore accounts, a contention that had been made in Pocklington’s bankruptcy case.

Pocklington acquired the Oilers in the late 1970s and stunned fans when he eventually traded Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988. He sold the club in 1998. The Oilers won five Stanley Cup titles during his ownership.