Bloomberg News

Ex-Mets Player Lenny Dykstra Pleads Guilty to Bankruptcy Fraud

July 14, 2012

Former New York Mets outfielder Lenny Dykstra pleaded guilty to looting valuables from his $18 million mansion and secretly selling them after his bankruptcy filing in 2009.

Dykstra, 49, pleaded guilty to three counts of bankruptcy fraud, concealment of bankruptcy property, and money laundering at a hearing yesterday in federal court in Los Angeles. He faces as long as 20 years in prison.

“Mr. Dykstra’s days of playing games with the public and the legal system are over,” Andre Birotte Jr., the U.S. attorney in Los Angeles, said in a statement. “With these federal convictions, Mr. Dykstra’s fraud and deceit have been exposed for all to see.”

Dykstra, in shackles and dressed in a green prison windbreaker and white prison trousers, didn’t speak at the hearing other than to state his name and level of education, high school, and to respond to the judge’s questions, including whether he understood the rights he was giving up and whether he was coerced, with “yes, your honor” or “no, your honor.”

“Guilty,” Dykstra said when U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson asked him how was pleading.

Pregerson denied a request by Dykstra’s public defender, Christopher Dybwad, to have the hearing behind closed doors. The judge set a sentencing date for Dec. 3.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Aaron May said at the hearing that Dykstra had agreed to waive his right to appeal his sentence if it’s no more than 51 months in prison and if the restitution he’ll be ordered to pay is no more than $200,000.

Plea Agreement

A plea agreement was filed under seal June 26. Dykstra, who is already serving a three-year term in California state prison for grand theft auto and a concurrent 270-day sentence for lewd exposure and assault, had faced as many as 15 counts in a superseding indictment, including obstruction of justice, embezzlement and giving false testimony under oath.

The former Major League Baseball player was accused of taking $400,000 worth of fixtures, including chandeliers, mirrors, a stove and a grandfather clock from his mansion and secretly selling them. He was also accused of secretly selling $15,000 worth of baseball equipment and memorabilia, including gloves, balls and bats.

In October, Dykstra pleaded no contest in state court to three counts of grand theft auto and filing a false financial statement. He had been charged in June of last year for trying to lease cars with phony business and credit information and with drug possession.

Police found cocaine, the drug Ecstasy and Somatropin, a synthetic human growth hormone, during a search of his home in Encino, California, prosecutors said at the time.

Craigslist Ads

In April, Dykstra pleaded guilty to charges he put ads on Craigslist for personal assistants and housekeeping services and told the women who came to meet him that he also wanted them to give massages. Dykstra exposed himself to the women and on one occasion held a knife to force a woman to massage him, Los Angeles prosecutors said.

Dykstra, known as “Nails,” joined the Mets in 1985 and helped the team win the World Series the following year. He played for the Philadelphia Phillies from 1989 to 1996.

The outfielder finished second to Barry Bonds in National League Most Valuable Player Award voting in 1993, when the Phillies reached the World Series to face the Toronto Blue Jays. Dykstra had a career batting average of .285, with 81 home runs and 404 runs batted in, according to baseball-reference.com.

The case is U.S. v. Dykstra, 11-00415, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

To contact the reporter on this story: Edvard Pettersson in Los Angeles at epettersson@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.


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