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Ex-baseball star Lenny Dykstra sentenced in bankruptcy fraud case

By Dan Whitcomb

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Lenny Dykstra, the 1980s World Series hero who pleaded guilty earlier this year to bankruptcy fraud, was sentenced on Monday to six months in federal prison and ordered to perform 500 hours of community service.

The 49-year-old former ballplayer - who is already serving time in state prison for grand theft auto, lewd conduct and assault with a deadly weapon - was also ordered to pay $200,000 in restitution.

In the federal case, Dykstra pleaded guilty in July to bankruptcy fraud and other charges.

According to the written plea agreement, he admitted defrauding his creditors by declaring bankruptcy in 2009, then stealing or destroying furnishings, baseball memorabilia and other property from his $18.5 million mansion.

He also admitted giving false or misleading testimony about the property he removed from the Los Angeles-area home, which he had purchased from hockey great Wayne Gretzky, according to the court documents.

Dykstra, nicknamed "Nails" during his playing days, spent 11 years in the major leagues, mostly as an outfielder for the Mets and Philadelphia Phillies.

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

And in Game 3 of the World Series, he hit a key lead-off home run, sparking a comeback by the Mets from a 2-0 series deficit to win the championship over the Boston Red Sox.

But in recent years Dykstra has become embroiled in a series of criminal cases.

In March of this year, he was sentenced to three years in state prison after pleading no contest to grand theft auto in what Los Angeles County prosecutors said was a scheme to lease cars using phony business and credit information.

And in April, the former athlete was sentenced to 270 days in jail and 36 months probation after pleading no contest to lewd conduct and assault with a deadly weapon.

Those charges stemmed from accusations that Dykstra exposed himself to women who answered his Craigslist ad for an assistant and housekeeper. One of the women told authorities the former athlete held a knife and forced her to massage him.

A no contest plea is the legal equivalent to pleading guilty under California law.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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