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Dykstra to be sentenced in bankruptcy fraud case
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Lenny Dykstra played in the major leagues for 12 years and he appeared to be on a solid post-career path, writing a stock-picking column and heading several privately held companies.
But he hasn’t been able to hold it together since buying a mansion five years ago for more than $18 million. The 49-year-old Dykstra has battled substance abuse, allegations of sexual misconduct and had a host of legal problems.
On Monday, the player once known as “Nails” is scheduled to be sentenced by a federal judge for hiding and selling sports memorabilia and other items that were supposed to be part of his bankruptcy filing. Prosecutors are asking for a 2 1/2-year sentence, though he could face 20 years.
In arguing for prison time, prosecutors describe Dykstra as an arrogant athlete who rejected authority and believed there were no repercussions for his actions.
Dykstra “has acted as if he was above the law for years, disregarding those who stood between him and what he wanted,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Evan Davis said in court documents. “Only a significant sentence will bring home to defendant that he has to abide by the same rules as everyone else.”
Poor timing may be to blame for some of Dykstra’s woes. While he profited from the sale of a car wash business, he bought the mansion just as the real estate market tanked. He also poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into his ill-fated Players Club magazine that promised to help pro athletes “keep living the dream.”
He filed for bankruptcy three years ago, claiming he owed more than $31 million and had only $50,000 in assets.
After the filing, prosecutors said Dykstra hid, sold or destroyed at least $200,000 worth of items without permission of a bankruptcy trustee. Court documents show Dykstra stripped the mansion clean of its items and sold high-end stoves, sconces and plumbing fixtures.
Then Dysktra, who spent his career with the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Mets, went to another house where his ex-wife lived and sold a cache of baseball memorabilia to a Las Vegas dealer for $15,000 and pocketed the proceeds, prosecutors said.
He pleaded guilty earlier this year to bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets and money laundering. A phone message left for deputy federal public defender Christopher Dybwad wasn’t returned.
Meanwhile, Dykstra was arrested last year by Los Angeles police who said they found cocaine, Ecstasy and synthetic human growth hormone at his home. Substance abuse allegations have long dogged Dykstra.
Dykstra was charged in the 2011 case and pleaded no contest to grand theft auto and providing a false financial statement earlier this year in exchange for having the drug-related counts dropped. He is currently serving a three-year prison sentence.
Dykstra also has been accused of sexual misconduct. Twice he was arrested for sexual battery but wasn’t prosecuted. Last year, his housekeeper claimed that Dykstra forced her to provide sexual favors but he denied it and no charges were filed.
Dykstra was sentenced this year to nine months in jail after pleading no contest to charges he exposed himself to women he met through Craigslist.
At his sentencing in the grand theft auto case in March, Dykstra told a judge he was doing everything he could to be a better person but sounded to be in denial and felt people were portraying him as a bad person.
By Donald Lambro
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