LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Onetime World Series hero Lenny Dykstra has been charged with fraud for allegedly selling or destroying some $400,000 in property that was subject to his bankruptcy case, federal prosecutors said on Friday.
The 48-year-old former ballplayer also faces apparently unrelated state charges after his arrest by Los Angeles police on Thursday night on suspicion of grand theft. He was being held on $500,000 bail.
Dykstra, who filed for bankruptcy in July of 2009, was charged in a federal criminal complaint with one count of embezzling from a bankruptcy estate, said Thom Mrozek, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Los Angeles.
The complaint said Dykstra listed two Southern California residences in his bankruptcy filing — an $18.5 million mansion that he bought from former hockey great Wayne Gretzky and a $5.4 million house in the Los Angeles area.
Those homes and their furnishings became part of the bankruptcy estate, and Dykstra was barred from removing them.
But according to the complaint, about a month after declaring bankruptcy, Dykstra sold a truckload of furnishings and artwork from the mansion to a local consignment store.
He later claimed, at a meeting of creditors in the bankruptcy case, that his housekeeper’s son had stolen “everything” from the mansion
Dykstra also is accused of arranging the sale of sports memorabilia and ripping 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 sentence of up to five years in federal prison if convicted.
The Los Angeles Police Department had few details about Dykstra’s grand theft arrest but said it stemmed from the purchase of a car.
A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office prosecutors had had not yet received the case from police.
Dykstra played for the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies during his 11-year big-league career.
He is perhaps best remembered by Mets fan for the 1986 season, when he hit a walk-off home run in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series.
In Game 3 of the 1986 World Series, Dykstra swatted a key lead-off home run as the Mets came back from a 2-0 series deficit to win the championship over the Boston Red Sox.
This story was corrected to make clear details of Dykstra's World Series home run