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Monday, May 24, 2010
Pocklington to plead guilty in bankruptcy

Associated Press

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- Former Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington has agreed to plead guilty to perjury in a bankruptcy fraud case, the U.S. attorney's office said.

Pocklington, 68, acknowledged that he concealed two accounts at Palm Desert National Bank from a bankruptcy trustee and failed to disclose two storage units in Southern California, according to the plea agreement filed Friday in U.S. District Court.

The plea bargain calls for probation, including six months of home detention that could force him to wear an electronic monitor.

Hockey great Wayne Gretzky played on Oilers teams owned by Pocklington. The franchise won five titles in seven years before Pocklington sold it in 1998.

Pocklington was arrested at his Palm Desert home in March 2009 on allegations he concealed assets during bankruptcy proceedings. If convicted of all felony charges, he could have faced up to 10 years in federal prison.

Pocklington filed for personal bankruptcy in 2008. He claimed to have debts of nearly $20 million and assets of only about $2,900.

To partially satisfy a court judgment, Pocklington gave a creditor a piece of art, a rug and desk that were collectively worth about $80,000 and located in one of his storage units, court documents said.

According to the plea agreement, Pocklington must cooperate with the Internal Revenue Service in determining his individual income tax liability for the years 2006 through 2008. The agreement also stipulates that Pocklington make full restitution.

The agreement still requires approval from a judge.

No date has been set for Pocklington to enter his guilty plea, but it is expected that it will be prior to Pocklington's scheduled trial date of June 29, U.S. attorney's office spokesman Thom Mrozek said.