Former Oilers owner Pocklington avoids jail

CTV Edmonton is reporting that former Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington has filed an appeal of his conviction for breach of probation just days before he was to start serving a jail sentence. (Reed Saxon/AP)

EDMONTON — CTV Edmonton is reporting that former Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington has filed an appeal of his conviction for breach of probation just days before he was to start serving a jail sentence.

It says Pocklington’s lawyer filed the appeal Friday in a California court.

CTV Edmonton also says Pocklington gave a $100,000 cash deposit as part of the conditions of his bail, and that he will be out on bail until his appeal is heard.

Pocklington was supposed to start serving a six-month jail sentence starting Monday.

In September, a judge in Riverside, Calif., sentenced the 71-year-old for violating a term of his probation on a perjury conviction.

Court heard that Pocklington had submitted a false monthly income report to his probation officer — he hadn’t adequately disclose a $15,000 consulting fee he received in January 2012.

In 2010, the businessman was sentenced to six months of house arrest and two years probation for perjury. He pleaded guilty to the charge and admitted to lying during previous bankruptcy proceedings.

In exchange, charges of bankruptcy fraud were dropped.

Pocklington filed a bankruptcy claim in 2008 stating he was virtually penniless and owed almost $US20 million. The FBI arrested him at his home in Palm Desert, near Palm Springs, Calif., the following year.

In previous court documents, investigators said they believed Pocklington was associated with off-shore companies registered in the Bahamas.

In the end, Pocklington admitted in court that he had declared bankruptcy without disclosing that he had control over bank accounts and storage facilities containing assets and property of his wife.

Pocklington is most famous for bringing Wayne Gretzky to Edmonton in 1978, then trading the superstar player a decade later to the Los Angeles Kings. Livid hockey fans burned the owner in effigy outside the city’s arena.

Mired in debt, Pocklington later sold the team to a consortium of local buyers and headed for California.