Alan Eagleson, former executive director of NHL Players Association, to plead guilty to defrauding players; faces 18 month jail

…Eagleson served as Executive Director of the National Hockey League Players’ Association ("NHLPA") from 1967 through 1991, during which time he was responsible for the management of the players union and was obligated to perform services in the best interests of the players.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation
January 5, 1998

Alan Eagleson, former executive director of NHL Players Association, to plead guilty to defrauding players; faces 18 month jail term and restitution payments

BOSTON, January 5, 1998…The former Executive Director of the National Hockey Players’ Association has agreed to plead guilty in federal court to committing multiple frauds on the players and their union during his tenure as the head of the players’ union.

United States Attorney Donald K. Stern and Special Agent in Charge Barry W. Mawn of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Boston Field Office jointly announced the filing of a felony Information, charging R. ALAN EAGLESON, 64, of 41 Crimson Millway, Toronto, Ontario, with three counts of mail fraud. Eagleson is scheduled to plead guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Nathaniel M. Gorton, tomorrow, January 6, 1998 at 11:00 AM.

According to a plea agreement filed with the court today, Eagleson has agreed to plead guilty to related criminal charges in Canada and to receive an 18 month prison sentence on those charges. In light of that agreement, the United States has agreed to a probationary sentence in the United States. Eagleson is scheduled to plead guilty and be sentenced on the Canadian charges in Toronto, on Wednesday, January 7, 1998. Eagleson has also agreed, in the Boston federal case, to pay restitution of one million Canadian dollars.

According to information, Eagleson served as Executive Director of the National Hockey League Players’ Association ("NHLPA") from 1967 through 1991, during which time he was responsible for the management of the players union and was obligated to perform services in the best interests of the players. Eagleson also served as the former Chief Negotiator on behalf of Hockey Canada, the NHLPA and the NHL, for international hockey events, including the Canada Cup tournaments. He was also a licensed attorney in Canada.

The Information charges Eagleson with executing three separate schemes to defraud the NHLPA and its members, each in violation of the federal mail fraud statute. According to court documents, the first fraudulent scheme involved Eagleson’s fraudulent conversion of airline travel passes and other profits from advertising in connection with Canada Cup tournaments and other international hockey tournaments between 1976 and 1991. Eagleson urged NHLPA players to participate in these tournaments by assuring them that certain of the proceeds from the tournaments would be used to enhance their pensions and that neither he nor his family members received any monetary benefit from the tournaments. Eagleson diverted the air travel passes and certain other advertising proceeds from the NHLPA and the NHL, using them for the benefit of himself, family members, friends and associates.

According to Information, Eagleson also converted other NHLPA funds for personal expenses of himself, his family, friends and associates, for good and services unrelated and unnecessary to the business of the NHLPA. The third fraudulent scheme charged in the Information involved Eagleson’s fraud against former NHL player Glen Sharpley through which Eagleson converted $15,000 of Sharpley’s insurance proceeds, keeping the funds for himself.

Eagleson’s fraudulent conduct violated the federal mail fraud stature because he used a series of mailings to the players, in which he made false representations to the NHLPA membership to conceal and perpetuate his fraudulent conduct.

The plea agreement follows a criminal indictment originally returned in March, 1994. Prior to entering into the agreement, Eagleson had refused to submit to the jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court, remaining at all times in Canada, where he is a citizen and resident. Under the plea agreement with the government, Eagleson agreed to waive his extradition rights and surrender in the United States for purposes of pleading guilty to these charges.

U.S. Attorney Stern said, "I’m pleased that this case is moving towards a resolution arrived at in cooperation with the Canadian authorities. The day of reckoning for Eagleson’s future financial security."

The case has been investigated by the Boston Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, with assistance from the Office of Labor Management Standards and Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration Sections of the Boston Field Office of the U.S. Department of Labor, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The criminal case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Ben T. Clements of Stern’s Political Corruption and Special Prosecutions Unit and by former Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul V. Kelly. Asset forfeiture proceedings in the case were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard L. Hoffman of Stern’s Asset Forfeiture Unit.

http://boston.fbi.gov/pressrel/1998/eaglesonalan.htm


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