Feds arrest owner of alleged gambling house

jsowell@idahostatesman.comNovember 27, 2013 

The owner of a Boise house that federal officials are attempting to seize after it was allegedly used for illegal poker games and tournaments has been arrested for failing to notify authorities.

Skinner "Skip" Anderson was charged with misprision of a felony. The term dates to the common law in England and refers to a person with knowledge of a felony who conceals and does not bring that information to the police or other authorities.

Anderson is accused of failing to stop the illegal gambling business operating from a house he rented out at 6655 W. Victory Road. The charge is a felony and if convicted, Anderson could face up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

The criminal case was brought against Anderson on Nov. 12 but documents from U.S. District Court in Boise were sealed until Tuesday.

Court records show that Anderson was also arraigned Tuesday and was prepared to enter a guilty plea before Magistrate Candy Dale.

No advance public notice was provided by the court. A docket listing said a hearing was being held on a "sealed case," but gave no indication of the defendant or the alleged crime.

A court checklist said that a plea agreement had been reached. Anderson was advised of the rights he would give up by pleading guilty and told the evidence prosecutors would use against him at trial. The document said Anderson indicated he was satisfied with the advice of his attorney, Jeffery Nona, and that he "wishes to enter a plea of guilty."

The report did not indicate whether Anderson was to plead guilty to the original charge or to a lesser charge.

Before Anderson entered his plea, Nona asked Dale to postpone the rest of the hearing until Dec. 9.

A message left Wednesday afternoon at Nona's office was not immediately returned. There was no answer at Anderson's home phone.

Last week, the government filed a complaint asking a judge to order seizure of the house, located just west of the runways at the Boise Airport.

The complaint alleged that the house was used for regular poker games and poker tournaments.

The house and 1.25 acres of land are owned by Kestrel Investments, a company owned by Anderson and his wife, Julie. The three-bedroom residence was built in 1984 and has 2,035 square feet. It is valued at $205,800, according to the Ada County Assessor's Office.

Nampa resident Kings Santy leased the residence for $1,200 per month beginning in 2008. He told investigators that he told Anderson he was going to run an auto repossession company from the house. Instead, he used the house for poker games.

Santy told authorities that Anderson knew about the gambling activity for the past two or three years. A woman whose husband or boyfriend lost their rent money from a poker game called Anderson to complain, one of Santy’s dealers told him, a report said.

Santy told Douglas Hart, a special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, that Anderson questioned him about card games and that he admitted he was holding poker tournaments there. Santy said Anderson told him he didn't care what he was doing on the property as long as it didn't cause Anderson trouble.

Santy told Hart that he always paid his rent in cash. Neither Anderson nor anyone from his property management company conducted any property inspections or walk-throughs, Santy said, during the time he leased the house.

Santy also admitted to running a similar gambling operation at a home on North Kings Road in Nampa.

Police raided the Boise and Nampa houses in early April. They seized playing cards, poker chips, tables and ledgers. More than $16,000 in cash was seized from Santy, gambling managers, dealers and players at the Nampa house.

Fourteen people were cited on gambling charges in state court. Santy was not among those arrested.

Reached last week, Santy declined to answer questions related to the case.

Federal prosecutors have also declined to talk about the case.

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