Lenny Dykstra, the Santa Ana-born baseball phenom out of Garden Grove High who went on to Major League glory with the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies in the early to mid-1990s, has completed his state and federal incarcerations.
“Nails” was released Thursday from Victorville Federal Correctional Complex, where he'd spent the last 6.5 months.
Dykstra was transferred to Victorville from the Los Angeles County Jail, where since March 2012 he'd been serving a three-year sentence for grand theft auto and falsifying financial statements. The former baller (later branded a financial whiz kid) had been housed in LA's celebrity wing alongside Conrad Murray and James DeBarge.
That changed after Dykstra's December sentencing in LA's federal court, where he pleaded guilty to bankruptcy fraud, concealment of assets and money laundering. He was then allowed to serve the time from his state and federal offenses concurrently, resulting it what appears to be an unusually early release, especially from an auto theft conviction.
He does still have to complete three years of supervised release, perform 500 hours of community service, undergo regular drug testing, enter a substance abuse program and repay $200,000 in restitution to his creditors.
After retiring from baseball in 1998 at age 35, Dykstra opened a car wash in Corona, which led to the opening of more car washes, including one in Anaheim Hills, Team Dykstra Quick Lube Centers, a Conoco Phillips fueling facility, a real estate development company, “I Sold It on eBay” stores, a high-end jet charter company and a magazine marketed toward professional athletes known as Player's Club.
With his new wealth, Dykstra was able to purchase Wayne Gretzky's $17 million North Hills estate. The media became filled with stories about Dykstra's amazing stock-picking abilities, with CNBC's Jim Cramer featuring the former ballplayer on his shows as an expert and even giving him a column.
But troubles soon emerged. Dykstra was sued by his partner in the car wash ventures. A 17-year-old girl who worked for Dykstra filed a sexual harassment complaint. Talk of steroid use from his playing days began to gurgle up. Dykstra filed for bankruptcy in 2009 but illegally hid and sold up to $400,000 worth of possessions inside his mansion, including valuable sports memorabilia, chandeliers and even an oven.
More allegations of criminal wrongdoing came, including credit-card fraud. Dozens of civil actions were filed against him, he lost the Gretzky house (falsely claiming to be the victim of mortgage fraud), his wife left him and his brother sued him for breach-of-contract.
Besides the financial and auto theft crimes, Dykstra received jail time for assault with a deadly weapon and lewd conduct.