Sports News

Ex-Mets star Lenny Dykstra indicted by grand jury

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Onetime World Series hero Lenny Dykstra was indicted by a federal grand jury on Friday, accused of stealing or destroying some $400,000 in property that was part of his bankruptcy case.

Dykstra, a popular member of the 1986 New York Mets who slugged a pair of key home runs during the team’s championship run, was charged in the 13-count indictment with bankruptcy fraud, obstruction of justice and other charges.

The 48-year-old former ballplayer, nicknamed “Nails,” faces a maximum sentence of up to 80 years in prison if convicted on all charges, said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.

Dykstra, who following his baseball career went into business as a car wash owner -- and briefly made a name for himself giving advice as a TV stock-picker -- is free on $150,000 bond.

He is scheduled for an initial court appearance and arraignment on May 16.

The indictment accuses Dykstra of scheming to defraud his creditors by declaring bankruptcy in July of 2009, then stealing or destroying the furnishings, artwork and sports memorabilia from his $18.5 million Los Angeles area mansion that he bought from hockey great Wayne Gretzky.

He is also accused of concealing the theft of the property from creditors and the bankruptcy court.

Dykstra spent 11 years in the major leagues, mostly as an outfielder for the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies,

He is perhaps best remembered by Mets fan for the 1986 season, when he struck a walk-off home run in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series.

In Game 3 of the 1986 World Series, he swatted a key lead-off home run, sparking a come-back by the Mets from a 2-0 series deficit to win the championship over the Boston Red Sox.

Dykstra was arrested last month by local police on suspicion of grand theft, but never charged in that case.

After spending several days in state custody, he was turned over to the FBI after federal prosecutors charged him with bankruptcy fraud in a criminal complaint.

That complaint has been superseded by the indictment.

Editing by Greg McCune