Idaho parole officer charged with extortion. Authorities say there could be more victims

A former Idaho Department of Correction probation and parole officer has been arrested after prosecutors said he extorted the girlfriend of one of his parolees.

Saif Sabah Hasan Al Anbagi, who worked in Boise, was charged with grand theft by extortion after he allegedly asked a woman who was in a relationship with a man Al Anbagi supervises to send him “compromising” photos and videos, according to court documents and Shawn Kelley, a legal intern for the Ada County Prosecutor’s Office.

Kelley during a Tuesday arraignment said Al Anbagi told the victim that if she didn’t cooperate, he would violate her boyfriend’s probation. Kelley added that the victim felt like she didn’t “have a choice” because she’s also under court supervision for an active criminal case.

“The defendant used his position of trust and authority to extort the victim,” Kelley said. “This presents a danger to the community.”

Jeffrey McKinnie, Al Anbagi’s Boise-based private attorney, said the correctional department has placed the 43-year-old on administrative suspension. A spokesperson for the department told the Statesman by email Friday that Al Anbagi was placed on unpaid leave Feb. 16 and resigned Wednesday.

Since Al Anbagi was arrested, Kelley said authorities are investigating reports from several other alleged victims who have come forward. Al-Anbagi supervised over 100 people on probation and parole as a part of his job, Kelley said.

McKinnie during the arraignment said Al Anbagi was collecting information to prove that some of his parolees were having “inappropriate relationships” with people who were also on probation. Al Anbagi has worked as a probation officer for seven years without any issues, he added.

“This may end up being a misunderstanding,” McKinnie said.

Judge sets bond at $150,000

The Ada County Prosecutor’s Office during Tuesday’s hearing asked 4th District Magistrate Judge Abraham Wingrove to set Al Anbagi’s bond at $500,000. McKinnie countered and asked the judge to set a maximum bond of $20,000.

“This is the first time he’s ever been accused of anything, so even if they got a conviction, the likelihood of him going to prison or even on a rider is very, very slim,” McKinnie said.

Wingrove said he always tries to set a “reasonable bond amount,” but that “given the nature of the allegation” in Al-Anbagi’s case, he thought a higher bond amount was needed, setting bail at $150,000. Al Anbagi posted bond that day, court records showed.

Al Anbagi’s next court hearing is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. March 1, according to online court records.

The story was updated 5:45 p.m. Feb. 23 to include an additional statement that Al Anbagi resigned.