LOS ANGELES - Former Phillies and New York Mets star and financial guru Lenny Dykstra was sentenced to three years in state prison on Monday, after a judge rejected a last-ditch effort to change his no contest plea and fight the charges.
Dykstra, who faced up to a four-year sentence, must serve his time in state prison. He had pleaded no contest to grand theft auto and filing a false financial statement in connection with a scheme to use somebody else's paperwork to steal or lease several new cars, according to court records.
He was immediately taken into custody after the sentencing.
In delivering the sentence, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Ulfig said the effort to steal cars showed "sophistication, planning." And prosecutors had argued that he did not exhibit any remorse toward his victims.
"Mr. Dykstra might not believe he is a criminal, but his actions have been criminal," she said, invoking baseball terminology such as "strikes" and "home run" to underscore her point.
Her sentence came after Dykstra's lawyer unsuccessfully urged the court to withdraw the no contest plea. But Ulfig said Dykstra was given ample due process and he had numerous opportunities to show evidence that he was innocent.
After she rejected the plea withdrawal, Dykstra addressed the court, making a rambling and repetitive speech requesting leniency.
"Did I do something I'm not proud of? Yes," Dykstra said. "Am I a criminal? No."
During the statement, he apologized to his family and told the judge he had voluntarily entered drug rehab. He did not, however, apologize to the victims, including the man whose identity he stole in an effort to steal the cars.
In January 2011, Dykstra, his accountant Robert Hymers, 27, and friend Christopher Gavanis, 30, tried to lease high-end automobiles from several area dealerships by allegedly providing fraudulent information and claiming credit through a phony business, prosecutors said.
According to prosecutors, Dykstra and Hymers allegedly provided information from a man they said was a co-signer at two dealerships, even though they were not authorized to use his name.