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Lenny Dykstra charged with bankruptcy fraud

April 15, 2011 |  1:39 pm

Dykstra

Former major league baseball player Lenny Dykstra has been charged with bankruptcy fraud for allegedly selling pieces of his estate, the Department of Justice said Friday afternoon.

Dykstra, who helped the New York Mets win the 1986 World Series and later became a celebrity stock picker and entrepreneur, was charged with one count of embezzling from a bankruptcy estate.

The federal charges came after the Los Angeles Police Department Commercial Crimes Division arrested Dykstra in Encino on Thursday evening on grand theft charges related to the purchase of vehicles.

He was arrested at 8 p.m. by the Forgery Section of the LAPD Commercial Crimes Division, according to police. The LAPD made the arrest following an investigation in which Dykstra was suspected of purchasing vehicles through fraudulent means, police said. He was held on $500,000 bail.

Here are more details from Times staff writer Richard Winton on LA NOW:

U.S. prosecutors Friday charged famed baseball outfielder Lenny Dykstra with bankruptcy fraud.

According to a statement by prosecutors, Dykstra was taken into custody at his Encino home Thursday night. The charge relates to fraud Dykstra allegedly committed involving the sale of items from a Ventura County mansion he owned.

"The federal charges stem from a bankruptcy case that Dykstra filed on July 7, 2009," the statement said.  "The criminal case filed in U.S. District Court alleges that Dykstra removed, destroyed and sold property that was part of the bankruptcy estate without the permission of the bankruptcy trustee.

According to prosecutors, "Dykstra admitted in a bankruptcy hearing to having arranged the sale of sports memorabilia and a dresser that were property of the bankruptcy estate; and Dykstra “ripped out” a $50,000 sink from his mansion and took granite from the mansion and installed it in an office he set up at the Camarillo airport after he had filed for bankruptcy protection."

As his baseball career wound down, Dykstra gained success as a businessman, first with a luxury car wash in Corona that the ballplayer dubbed “the Taj Mahal” of car washes. He then expanded the business to other parts of Southern California and in 2007 sold it to investors.

Dykstra also took his head-first style to Wall Street after teaching himself financial analysis and striking up a friendship with CNBC “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer, who hired Dykstra to write a stock-picking column for his influential website, TheStreet.com.

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-- Alejandro Lazo and Richard Winton

Photo: Lenny Dykstra in July 2010. Credit: Katie Falkenberg/For The Times

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