World Series hero Lenny Dykstra arrested for fraud

Reuters News
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Posted: Apr 15, 2011 4:17 PM
World Series hero Lenny Dykstra arrested for fraud

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Onetime World Series hero Lenny Dykstra has been arrested and charged with fraud for allegedly stealing or destroying $400,000 in property that was part of his bankruptcy case, federal prosecutors said on Friday.

The 48-year-old former ballplayer was taken into custody on Thursday night at his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Encino, said Thom Mrozek, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office in Los Angeles.

Dykstra, who filed for bankruptcy in July of 2009, was charged with one count of embezzling from a bankruptcy estate, Mrozek said.

According to the criminal complaint, after filing for bankruptcy Dykstra hid, destroyed or sold some $400,000 worth of property that was part of the bankruptcy estate.

When Dykstra filed for bankruptcy, he listed two residences -- an $18.5 million mansion in Ventura County that he purchased from former hockey great Wayne Gretzky and his wife and a $5.4 million home in the Los Angeles area, according to the complaint.

Those homes and the property in them became part of the bankruptcy estate and Dykstra was prohibited from liquidating them.

But prosecutors say that about a month after declaring bankruptcy, Dykstra sold a truck load of furnishings from the mansion to a Los Angeles consignment store.

He also allegedly arranged the sale of sports memorabilia and ripped out a $50,000 granite sink from the mansion to install it in an office he had set up at an airport in Camarillo, California.

Dykstra, whose bankruptcy case is still pending, faces a maximum sentence of five years in federal prison if he is convicted.

Dykstra played for the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies during his 11-year major league career.

He is best known by Mets fans for hitting a walk-off home run in Game 3 of the 1986 World Series against the Boston Red Sox, en route to a Mets championship.

(Editing by Peter Bohan)