Diego yacht salesman Kenneth S. Anning, 51, pleaded guilty to
defrauding the Boy Scouts to the tune of $300,000, before Judge
Magistrate John Houston in San Diego on August 21.
He will appear
before U.S. District Judge Napoleon Jones for sentencing on November
13 at 8.15 a.m.
“I falsified a document to obtain a $300,000 loan
from Victor Elias, on behalf of myself and the Boy Scouts,” Anning
told Judge Houston.
According to trial documents issued by U.S.
Attorney James Brannigan, the Boy Scouts’ Desert Pacific Council
paid Anning the money to cover brokers’ fees arising from the
donation of Centurion, a $7.5 million luxury motor yacht built by
Delta Marine in 1992.
The trouble is, the 125-foot megayacht,
currently cruising Alaska’s inland waterways, was never donated, but
Anning kept the $300,000.
In a telephone interview from his
Seattle office, Dan Stabbert, whose company Venture Pacific Marine
owns Centurion, said he believes Elias loaned the Boy Scouts the
money with the intention of ultimately taking ownership of the yacht
at a bargain price when the Boy Scouts put Centurion up for
“Ken Anning was introduced to me as a friend and
representative of Victor Elias,” Stabbert said.
Stabbert, Anning had flown to Juneau, Alaska, to meet him last summer
when Stabbert was looking for a partner to share ownership of
“We spent a couple of hours together. He was a very
nice, very personable fellow,” Stabbert said. “We got along real
well. He loved the boat. And he said, ‘Victor’s very happy and I’m
very happy.’ And that’s the last I heard of him.
“The next I
heard about it was the Elias family calling me saying, ‘Hey! We want
to know how the Centurion is doing in her cruising down in the South
America area.’ And I said ‘Why do you want to know that?’ And they
said, ‘Well, it’s our boat. We want to know what’s going
Stabbert said his first response had been to assume the
whole thing was a big joke. “I did laugh,” Stabbert said. “So then
[Elias] said, ‘Hey! We provided funds for this vessel to be donated
to the Boy Scouts.’”
“Elias thought that, through the Boy Scouts,
he’d arranged to somehow get control of this ship,” Stabbart
San Diego’s close-knit community of yacht brokers is at a
loss to understand why Anning, a businessman with longstanding roots
in the county, would commit this crime given the spoils seem too
small to warrant starting a new life beyond reach of the
News broke of the charges on August 9, and broker Ron
Gullan, of Yachtfinders, who has no connection with the case, said,
“It’s amazing that somebody would think they could get away with a
scam like that. I was driving to work when I heard it on the radio
and my jaw dropped with amazement.”
“It’s a sad day when you look
at it that nearly 10 percent of our annual budget is out the door
through a guy who is less than reputable,” said Dan McAllister,
president of the Boy Scouts’ Desert Pacific Council. “It appears as
though it was a fairly flagrant and oft-tried scheme to defraud
people out of money. In other words: Go give me money; I’ll give you
It’s not as if the Boy Scouts’ regional body is
gullible enough to make a down payment on, say, the Coronado Bridge.
Anning has been consistently providing the Desert Pacific Council
with donated boats for 15 years, ever since he left the company of
Continental Yachts. During this period, Anning had organized the
donation of 50 boats to the Boy Scouts.
McAllister said, “It
appeared as though he had come to us with the mother of all boat
deals.” He said all the paperwork and information had initially
appeared to be order, and senior staff at Desert Pacific Council
decided to put some money out on the promise that much more would
Now they’re re-examining those past deals for
“My inclination and, I think the inclination of
Boy Scouts in general, is to move forward and make every effort to
recover what we can of that which we know is gone.”
Stabbert, Centurion has a reputation for carrying the likes of Bill
Gates and Jack Nicholson up and down the West Coast. It spends its
summers in Alaska and winters off Mexico and the San Blas
“It’s one the West Coast is familiar with because it
regularly goes up and down the coast on its way from South America
and Mexico up to Alaska each summer,” Sarah Duffy, another yacht
broker said. According to Duffy, Centurion made a few stops up and
down the coast last year for people to view her at Santa Barbara,
Marina Del Rey and Long Beach.
Duffy said Centurion is an
expedition yacht. In other words, it can go places other megayachts
“Most of these big megayachts that you see floating
around the Med or the Caribbean or St. Barts at Christmas have like
an 8-foot, 9-foot draft,” said Duffy. “And rough weather does not
fare well for them.”
Centurion, however, has a draft of 12 feet.
It is one of the heaviest fiberglass yachts ever built. Its
displacement is 515 tons “That in conjunction with its very deep
draft makes it very stable on the water,” Duffy said.
said Centurion was one of the most expensive yachts in the U.S. when
it was launched in 1992. Delta is building two similar yachts now
with a price tag of $20 million apiece.