The personal fall of ex-New York baseball star (and SoCal financial whiz) Lenny Dykstra continues. The former outfielder for the Mets and Phillies, already in state custody on earlier convictions, pleaded guilty today to bankruptcy fraud and other federal charges for selling items "pilfered from his mansions in Ventura County," the feds said. Sentencing was scheduled for Dec. 3 before U.S. District Judge Dean D. Pregerson.
Dykstra, 48, who was known by the nickname "Nails," pleaded guilty to three felony counts – bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets, and money laundering. As result of the guilty pleas, Dykstra faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison....
In court today, Dykstra admitted that he filed a bankruptcy case on July 7, 2009, and later lied about taking and selling items that were part of the bankruptcy estate. Dykstra specifically admitted he committed bankruptcy fraud by lying about whether he had taken and sold items from his $18 million mansion in Sherwood Estates that he had purchased from Wayne and Janet Gretsky [sic]. Dykstra also admitted that he concealed property from the bankruptcy estate, items that included baseball memorabilia stored in his other Sherwood Estates mansion. And, Dykstra admitted that he sold some of the memorabilia and laundered the proceeds by taking $15,000 earned from the sale and purchasing a cashier’s check in another person's name.
Dykstra also admitted that there were at least 10 creditors who were victims of his crimes, and those victims lost between $200,000 and $400,000.
“Mr. Dykstra's days of playing games with the public and the legal system are over. With these federal convictions, Mr. Dykstra's fraud and deceit have been exposed for all to see,” says André Birotte Jr., whose office prosecuted the case. “These convictions should serve as a cautionary tale of a high-flying sports celebrity who tried to manipulate and exploit both his creditors and the bankruptcy laws of the United States.”
Dykstra's rise and fall was chronicled by Patrick J. Kiger in the July issue of Orange Coast magazine. The graphic above is the opening spread of that piece. The story is told from the perspective of Dykstra's driver. Sample:
Early last year, twenty something Ohio State grad Aaron Plaat moved to California and landed a job that seemed like a dream come true: chauffeur and assistant to former Major League Baseball superstar and Garden Grove native Lenny “Nails” Dykstra.
“He really was looking not just for a driver, but for a right-hand man,” Platt recalls. “He had a lot of things going on, a couple of companies he was working on, meetings with lawyers, a lot of errands.”