Former MLB All Star Dykstra Charged with Bankruptcy Fraud

Former MLB All Star Dykstra Charged with Bankruptcy Fraud

Former New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Lenny Dykstra was charged on Thursday with embezzling from a bankruptcy estate. His punishment could be up to five years in federal prison if convicted.

Dykstra, who bought a mansion once owned by hockey star Wayne Gretzky, filed for bankruptcy in 2009. He scheduled debts of more than $31 million and only $50,000 in assets.

The charges include that Dykstra hid, sold or destroyed more than $400,000 worth of items without permission of the court or the bankruptcy trustee. The items ranged from sports memorabilia to a $50,000 sink.

Dykstra spent 12 years in the majors and was a major part in helping the Mets win the World Series in 1986. A three-time All-Star, he had the nickname "Nails" and was known for his rowdy behavior.

After retiring, Dykstra had a number of business ventures, including owning a car wash, wrote a stock-picking column on, a financial website founded by TV host Jim Cramer and an investment service for other big leaguers.

Lesson: You fall under the supervision of the bankruptcy court and a bankruptcy trustee (in most individual cases) when you file for bankruptcy protection. You must be on your best behavior and remember that you cannot do anything out of the ordinary with your assets. And remember, the more debts that you have and are attempting to discharge, the bigger target you are. This is especially true if you are a celebrity.

Read more articles about consumer debt by Ted Connolly, co-author of The Road Out of Debt

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