Peter Pocklington's sentencing delayed

Updated: October 14, 2010, 3:16 PM ET
Associated Press

RIVERSIDE, Calif. -- A federal judge postponed a sentencing hearing Thursday for former Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington after she said Pocklington's attorney filed pre-sentencing paperwork too late for her to properly evaluate it.

U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips reset the hearing for Oct. 27 after admonishing attorney Brent Romney for filing the 78-page document two days ago, instead of three weeks before sentencing as is required.

Pocklington, who lives in Palm Desert, has pleaded guilty to a single perjury count for making false statements and oaths in his bankruptcy case.

Prosecutors have recommended that Pocklington be sentenced to two years of probation that includes six months of home detention with an electronic monitoring device, as well as 100 hours of community service. Phillips, however, can use her discretion in sentencing.

Pocklington, 68, declined to comment outside court.

Phillips admonished Romney for his tardy court filing, saying that he was attempting to jump the line ahead of other attorneys who had filed their papers on time. She said it also put an undue burden on her to review everything in just a few days.

"Let me say this as politely as I can: This is not my only case," Phillips said.

Pocklington's attorney said he realized he had filed late, but wanted to give the court the most up-to-date information showing how his client is working with the U.S. Trustee to resolve his bankruptcy case.

"We want the judge to consider everything we put in our response," he said outside court.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Sean Lokey declined to comment.

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.

Pocklington acquired the Oilers in the late 1970s and sold the team in 1998. The team won five titles during that span. He stunned fans when he traded star Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988. Fans burned him in effigy.

As he left the courthouse Thursday, Pocklington was served with a subpoena to appear at a Nov. 19 deposition for creditors in the bankruptcy case. Pocklington refused to take the papers, so the server tossed them into an open car window. Someone in Pocklington's vehicle tossed the subpoena out of the car as Pocklington was driven away.

The subpoena orders Pocklington to appear and provide documents and information about his financial dealings with two companies, Dempsey Investments Corp. and Quincy Investments Corp., and any Bahamian bank or trust accounts held by those firms.

It also seeks his testimony on any Bahamian bank or trust accounts where Pocklington has signatory authority.

In the criminal case, federal authorities allege Pocklington held accounts at a local bank in the name of Dempsey Investment Corp. and Premier Labs LLC and he had sole signatory authority.


Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press