By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times –
LOS ANGELES — Former New York Mets star and self-styled financial guru Lenny Dykstra, who was already sentenced to three years in state prison for a car scam, received 6 ½ months for federal bankruptcy fraud after looting his mansion of valuables before creditors could get them.
Dykstra, who helped the New York Mets win the 1986 World Series, and became a celebrity stock picker before his finances dissolved in chaos in 2009, has racked up numerous charges in recent years.
U.S. District Judge Dean Pregerson also ordered Dykstra to pay $200,000 in restitution and to perform 500 hours of community service. The 6 ½-month sentence was far lighter than the 30 months federal prosecutors had sought. At one point, Dykstra faced a potential sentence of up to 20 years before he agreed to a plea deal.
His fall from grace during the last two years includes a conviction for a car-finance scam and separate charges of lewd conduct and assault with a deadly weapon.
According to federal prosecutors, Dykstra sold sports memorabilia and household items from his Ventura County, Calif., mansion, including a $50,000 sink. Dykstra was barred from selling the items.
Nicknamed “Nails” by baseball fans for his raucous style on the diamond, the California native turned to Bankruptcy Court in July 2009 to try to save his lavishly furnished Sherwood Country Club estate. He bought the property from hockey legend Wayne Gretzky for $18.5 million, at the height of the last housing boom.
An affidavit filed by FBI Special Agent Ty Thomas lays out how federal investigators allege the baseball legend “sold many items belonging to the bankruptcy estate” and “destroyed and hid other estate items, depriving the estate of a combined $400,000 of assets.”
Dykstra reportedly transferred dozens of items — including chandeliers, mirrors, artwork, a stove and a grandfather clock — to a consignment store in West Los Angeles. The owner of the store paid him cash for a U-Haul truckload of goods, according to the agent.
Despite warnings from a bankruptcy trustee’s attorney, Dykstra — moments after promising not to remove items from his Camarillo Airport office — shifted numerous valuable pieces into a truck, according to the affidavit. People who received some of the items from Dykstra listed them on Craigslist and eBay.
The baseball legend has already been sentenced to three years in state prison. He pleaded no contest to grand theft auto and filing a false financial statement in connection with a scheme a judge described as an effort to steal cars that showed “sophistication, planning.”
In January 2011, Dykstra, his accountant Robert Hymers, 27, and friend Christopher Gavanis, 30, tried to lease high-end automobiles from several area dealerships by allegedly providing fraudulent information and claiming credit through a phony business, prosecutors said.
Earlier this year he also got nine months in jail for exposing himself to a woman.