- (Photo: Reuters/Danny Moloshok)
Former New York Mets outfielder Lenny Dykstra was sentenced to three years in California state prison Monday in a grand theft auto case.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Cynthia Ulfig refused to allow Dykstra to withdraw his "no contest" plea, saying that the former baseball pro's "conduct was indeed criminal," according to the The Associated Press.
Dykstra has been involved in a string of recent legal troubles. Prosecutors charged him and two co-defendants with organizing a scam to lease high-end vehicles from dealerships by providing credit reports from phony businesses.
When Dykstra was arrested at his Los Angeles home last April, police reportedly found ecstasy, cocaine, and a synthetic growth hormone. He was initially charged with 25 counts, 21 of which were dropped when he changed his plea from not guilty to "no contest" in Oct. 2011.
His co-conspirators in the automobile scam case, accountant Robert Hymers and friend Christopher Gavanis, both pleaded no contest to their charges.
"I do have remorse for some of the things I've done," Dykstra reportedly said in court Monday.
"But because I wasn't a perfect person am I a criminal? Everyone wants to make me out to be a monster," he added.
Judge Ulfig argued, according to the Los Angeles Times, "Mr. Dykstra might not believe he is a criminal, but his actions have been criminal."
According to LA Times, when Dykstra addressed the court he apologized to his family, telling the judge he had voluntarily admitted himself to a sober center for drug rehabilitation. He did not, however, apologize to the victims of his lease scam.
Dykstra, 48, earned the nickname "Nails" while playing for the New York Mets in the late 1980s due to his fearless demeanor on the field. He played for the Philadelphia Phillies during the early 1990s.
The former pro baseball player has also pleaded not guilty to a separate charge of indecent exposure, allegedly exposing himself to women via the Craigslist website.