Peter Pocklington, the former owner of the NHL's Edmonton Oilers, has been sentenced in a California court to six months of home detention for making false statements and oaths in his bankruptcy case.
A U.S. District Court judge in Riverside also sentenced him to two years of probation. In addition, Pocklington will have to perform 100 hours of community service and pay a $3,000 US fine.
He could have received a maximum 10-year prison term but was spared jail time thanks to a plea bargain
"That's a new chapter that requires him to turn sharp corners," said Assistant United States Attorney Sean Lokey outside the courthouse.
"He needs to tell the probation office about his dealings — that's part of the terms of federal probation — and he needs to tell them the truth and not the truth according to Peter Pocklington."
The deal was reached when Pocklington, 68, pleaded guilty last May to one count of perjury.
He admitted he committed perjury when he filed for bankruptcy in August 2008, claiming almost $19.6 million in debts and $2,900 in assets.
About $13 million of that debt is principal and interest from an Alberta government loan made to Pocklington's meatpacking business in 1988.
Prosecutors said he concealed assets during the bankruptcy proceedings. They said he did not disclose that he had sole signing authority over two bank accounts containing roughly $9,000 in total and two storage lockers near his Palm Desert, Calif., home.
The lockers contained less than $10,000 worth of items belonging to his wife, such as sports memorabilia and clothing.
'None of the lies or slanders I have endured will diminish that pride or what I have been able to accomplish.' — Peter Pocklington
In a statement issued Wednesday, Pocklington apologized for signing off on bankruptcy forms that were completed on his behalf "without fully examining them or questioning why they were incomplete."
Pocklington also said he finds it "alarming" that people assumed he was guilty based solely on commentary they read in online forums. He said people who know him are aware of his history of community service.
"None of the lies or slanders I have endured will diminish that pride or what I have been able to accomplish," he said.
Judge Virginia Phillips said she took into account Pocklington's "extraordinary record of philanthropy" in accepting the prosecution's recommendation of probation, home detention and community service.
Pocklington's creditors had a private investigator serve him with a subpoena on Oct. 15, asking him to disclose all of his bank accounts. They claim he could be hiding money in offshore accounts in the Bahamas. However, on Wednesday, the prosecutor said the FBI hasn't been able to find any evidence of this.
Pocklington was arrested in March 2009 and released on a $1-million bond, which was later reduced to $200,000 because the court deemed he was less of a flight risk after the plea agreement was reached.
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 under his ownership.