Feds Charge Owner Who Sold Gretzky With Fraud

You might remember Bruce McNall, the “billionaire” who brought Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings from Edmonton and later drove the team into bankruptcy and went to jail for almost five years after admitting to defrauding six banks out of almost $250 million. But what about Peter Pocklington, the Oilers owner who traded Gretzky?

Peter Pocklington and Wayne Gretzky

(Peter Pocklington eyes dollar signs in the distance after selling Gretzky.)

Well, he’s no longer the Oilers owner, and he’s left Canada, and not because of the hate Canadians feel towards him for trading Gretzky. As THE GLOBE AND MAIL details, he fled to the U.S. to escape a series of bad business deals and angry investors seeking blood. Now the CBC says that he’s been arrested at his home in Palm Springs and charged with bankruptcy fraud.

This now means that both of the owners involved in breaking Canada’s collective heart by sending Wayne Gretzky to Los Angeles have been arrested and charged with gross financial misconduct. Throw in the whole Rick Tocchet/Janet Gretzky betting scandal, and it seems as though trouble seems to swirl around The Great One.

When filing for bankruptcy in a U.S. court in August, Pocklington claimed to have “debts of about $19.6 million and assets of only $2,900, which included $300 in clothing and shoes.” However, federal agents have suspected that he has been hiding large amounts of assets, and today raided his home plus two storage units they say he didn’t declare during the bankruptcy proceedings. The Feds are also claiming that he failed to disclosure two bank accounts in his name.

This isn’t the first time the Feds have come after Pocklington: he’s had his house raided three times by agents who have confiscated antiques, valuable artwork, expensive bags and purses owned by his wife, and even hockey sticks autographed by Gretzky. They also allege that he is hiding a significant amount of money in the Bahamas, which makes it about as hard to touch as Gretzky with Dave Semenko nearby.

Pocklington is facing a maximum of 10 years in jail if he’s convicted; however, he should be able to serve that no problem given his stated ability to leave “his body for nocturnal trips to foreign locales like the Pyramids.” What I want to know is: how can a Canadian citizen living in Palm Springs file for bankruptcy protection in a U.S. court?

Finally, I’d like to leave you with one of Pocklington’s personal business “rules” from his own Web site that seems particularly fitting right now: “If you can’t win, change the rules! If you can’t change the rules, ignore them!