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Former baseball star Lenny Dykstra sentenced to 3 years in prison

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 7:59 PM EST, Mon March 5, 2012
Lenny Dykstra led the New York Mets to a World Series championship in 1986.
Lenny Dykstra led the New York Mets to a World Series championship in 1986.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Lenny Dykstra faces federal charges in a separate case
  • He pleaded no contest to grand theft auto and filing a false financial statement in October
  • Prosecutors: Dykstra, co-defendants fraudulently drove off with cars from dealership

Los Angeles (CNN) -- Former New York Mets great Lenny Dykstra was sentenced Monday to three years in prison after pleading no contest to grand theft auto.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Cynthia Ulfig denied Dykstra's motion to withdraw his plea. He pleaded no contest in October to three counts of grand theft auto and filing a false financial statement.

Beginning in January 2011, Dykstra and two co-defendants tried to lease various high-end automobiles from several area dealerships by providing fraudulent information and claiming credit through a phony business, prosecutors said.

A criminal complaint contended that Dykstra and Robert Hymers, 27, his accountant, provided information from a man they claimed was a co-signer, but who had not authorized his name to be used.

Leases were not approved at two dealerships, but the pair and Christopher Gavanis, 30, a friend of Dykstra's, drove off with three cars at one company by providing fraudulent information to a dealer, said Deputy District Attorney Alex Karkanen.

Those cars have since been returned, he said.

When Dykstra was arrested in April, Los Angeles police detectives allegedly found cocaine and ecstasy along with somatropin, a synthetic human growth hormone, when they searched his Encino home.

In exchange for his plea, prosecutors agreed to drop 21 charges against him, including attempted grand theft auto, identity theft, possession of a controlled substance and unauthorized possession of a syringe.

In a separate case, Dykstra was indicted in May on federal charges, including obstruction of justice for allegedly taking more than $400,000 in property that should have gone to his bankruptcy creditors and then lying about it under oath, prosecutors claim.

Dykstra, 49, is a three-time Major League Baseball All-Star who led the New York Mets to a World Series championship. His stellar professional baseball career began in 1981, when the New York Mets drafted him out of high school.

During his second year in the majors, the player nicknamed "Nails" for his tenacity hit a lead-off home run in Game 3 of the 1986 World Series at Boston's Fenway Park after the Mets lost the first two games. That spark rallied the Mets to a seven-game series victory over the Boston Red Sox.

CNN's Rosalina Nieves contributed to this report.

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