Lenny Dykstra indicted on fraud, obstruction of justice charges [Updated]
Former baseball star Lenny Dykstra was indicted by a federal grand jury Friday on charges including bankruptcy fraud and obstruction of justice, for allegedly sneaking away more than $400,000 in property that should have gone to his creditors, then lying about it under oath.
Dykstra, 48, a former Mets and Phillies outfielder known to his fans by the nickname “Nails,” is accused of stealing, hiding and destroying items such as chandeliers, artwork, sconces and sports memorabilia about himself from his $18-million Ventura County mansion, according to the indictment.
He later filed declarations under oath and lied in bankruptcy court about having received money from selling off the items, the indictment alleged.
Dykstra’s attorney, Mark Werksman, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
[Updated, 4:53 p.m.: Dykstra’s attorney, Mark Werksman, accused the government late Friday of “using an indictment to punish a debtor,” and said the criminal charges were “heavy-handed and overbearing.”
“This is payback by the U.S. government to Lenny Dykstra’s resistance to the trustee’s dismantling of his property and assets in the bankruptcy,” Werksman said. “When all the facts come out, we’ll show that Mr. Dykstra acted in good faith and behaved properly.”
Dykstra is free on $150,000 bond and staying in Murietta, Werksman said.]
If convicted of all 13 counts in the indictment, Dykstra could face a maximum of 80 years in prison, according to the U.S. attorney’s office.
Dykstra, who fashioned himself as a financial guru and entrepreneur after retiring from his baseball career, filed for bankruptcy protection in July 2009 when business ventures started failing and debt began piling up. He was soon pushed into court-ordered liquidation by his creditors.
Bankruptcy trustee Peter C. Anderson called Dykstra’s alleged crimes “an egregious abuse of the bankruptcy system,” and said they would “not be tolerated,” according to a statement released by prosecutors. Dykstra’s bankruptcy case remains pending.
Photo: Lenny Dykstra in 2008. Credit: Frank Franklin II/AP