Former Met Lenny Dykstra pleads to auto theft

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 19, 2011 9:48 PM
Former Met Lenny Dykstra pleads to auto theft

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Former New York Mets star Lenny Dykstra pleaded no contest on Wednesday to grand theft auto charges stemming from what prosecutors said was a scheme to lease cars using phony business and credit information.

Dykstra, 48, entered his plea, the equivalent of guilty in California, during a hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court. In addition to three counts of grand theft auto, he also pleaded no contest to one count of filing false financial statements.

The onetime World Series hero faces a maximum penalty of four years in prison when he appears before a judge for sentencing in January.

Dykstra and two associates were accused of running a scheme, starting earlier this year, to lease high-end automobiles from dealerships using fraudulent information and claiming credit through a phony business called Home Free Systems.

Although they were rejected at two dealerships, prosecutors charge, they drove off with three cars from another business.

Dykstra, nicknamed "Nails" during his baseball career, spent more than a decade in the Major Leagues, mostly as an outfielder for the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies.

He still faces two additional and unrelated criminal prosecutions. An indictment returned by a federal grand jury in May accuses Dykstra of stealing or destroying some $400,000 in property that was part of his bankruptcy case.

Then in August, he was charged in Los Angeles with exposing himself to a string of women who answered online employment advertisements he posted.

(Reporting by Alex Dobuzinskis; editing by Steve Gorman and Cynthia Johnston)