(SAN FERNANDO, Calif.) — Disgraced ex-New York Mets outfielder Lenny Dykstra on Monday was sentenced to three years in a California state prison after pleading no contest to grand theft auto and providing a false financial statement.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Ulfig sentenced Dykstra after refusing to allow him to withdraw his plea and said the scam to lease high-end automobiles from dealerships by providing fraudulent information and claiming credit through a phony business showed sophistication and extensive planning. “He obviously didn’t have the money to get the vehicles,” Ulfig said. “His conduct was indeed criminal.”
Dykstra, 49, who spent his 12-year career with the Mets and Philadelphia Phillies, has had a series of recent legal troubles and the prison sentence is part of a post-career downward spiral for the stocky slugger known as “Nails” that has included a stint at a sober living facility.In a rambling and impassioned plea for probation, Dykstra said he has tried to make amends for his past transgressions and said he would be cleared of any wrongdoing had his motion to withdraw his plea been granted. “I’m doing everything in my power to be a better person,” he said.
Dykstra, wearing a gray suit with a blue shirt, was immediately remanded to custody as he walked into the court’s back room, hands in his pockets. Dykstra has earned nearly a year’s worth of credit toward his sentence for time already served.
He said he didn’t deserve to be put in jail on trumped-up charges and said he wasn’t able to go to the funeral of his mother who died while he was incarcerated awaiting trial. He noted that he chose to go into a drug rehab center, volunteers his time with a college baseball team and has paid nearly $20 million in taxes. “I do have remorse for some of the things I’ve done,” he said. “But because I wasn’t a perfect person am I a criminal? Everyone wants to make me out to be a monster.”