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RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) — Former Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington is expected to be given probation by a Southern California judge on Thursday after he pleaded guilty to a federal perjury charge.
Prosecutors have recommended that Pocklington, 68, should be sentenced to two years of probation, including six months of home detention with electronic monitoring, and 100 hours of community service.
Pocklington pleaded guilty to a single perjury count in May for making false statements and oaths in his bankruptcy case. He could have received a maximum 10-year prison term.
Pocklington was arrested at his Palm Desert home in March 2009 for concealing assets during bankruptcy proceedings in which he claimed to have debts of more than $19 million and assets of only about $2,900. That includes nearly $13 million in loan money and interest that the Alberta provincial government claims it loaned to Pocklington's meatpacking company in 1988.
He failed to note that he controlled two bank accounts and two storage facilities in California, according to court documents.
Although prosecutors aren't seeking prison time for Pocklington, they point out in a court filing that the former sports team owner has said in recent media interviews that he hasn't done anything wrong, despite pleading guilty. Federal judges can use their discretion during sentencing.
Pocklington acquired the Oilers in the late 1970s. The team went on to win five Stanley Cup titles during his tenure as owner — the last in 1990 — before he sold the team in 1998. In his most noteworthy move as owner, he traded Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988 — and was promptly burned in effigy by stunned Oilers fans.