It’s really much easier to commit fraud than you would think. Lenny Dykstra, the once-beloved Mets baseball player has pleaded guilty to Bankruptcy fraud in the United States District Court in Los Angeles. Dykstra made significant misrepresentations about his assets while filing for bankruptcy. That is fraud. It’s that simple. After filing for relief in bankruptcy court, prosecutors allege that Dykstra hid, sold, or destroyed more than $400,000 worth of items without the permission of a bankruptcy trustee. He also apparently lied about the value of his assets. Once again the media sensationalizes the events by reporting that Dykstra faces up to 20 years in prison. That is the maximum sentence he can receive for the one count of fraud to which he pleaded guilty. He is not likely to receive this sentence. In fact, it appears that the plea agreement Dykstra entered into with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Los Angeles provides for a 51-month sentence. Of that 51 months, Dykstra will serve approximately three and a half years. Judge Pregerson, the district court judge who is presiding over Dykstra’s case is not obligated to sentence Dykstra according to the plea agreement. However, most federal judges do respect the work attorneys do in reaching agreements and generally will try to abide by the agreement. U.S. Attorney Andre Briotte calls this a cautionary tale to high-flying celebrities. I call it a cautionary tale to anyone who makes misrepresentations to a district court. That is fraud. Plain and simple.