Graeame John Cropper jailed for dishonestly obtaining property by deception in Tamworth Local Court

A DRUG and alcohol counsellor has been jailed for almost two years after ripping off a man of a Holden Commodore in Tamworth.

Graeame John Cropper was sentenced to 22 months behind bars after he was convicted of dishonestly obtaining property by deception in Tamworth.

Cropper, a drug and alcohol counsellor with the Salvation Army in Tamworth, was cleared by magistrate Roger Prowse of three other fraud charges during the hearing but was guilty of the fourth charge.

Cropper, now aged 54, was convicted of entering into an agreement by deception to purchase a house with the victim and when instructed to sell the station wagon to use the funds for the house, instead took the Commodore and registered it in the name of his partner.

The victim owned the car but Cropper made no payment to the man for the vehicle, and there was no property purchased as part of the agreement.

The offence occurred between October, 2015, and May this year, before Cropper was arrested by Oxley detectives on May 11.

He was initially charged with four offences with detectives alleging the 54-year-old defrauded the victim or dishonestly obtained a financial advantage of $68,000.

Cropper, who has criminal record boasting convictions for fraud, property and driving offences, developed a gambling habit 18 months before his arrest.

He accrued several debts amounting to more than $90,000 and used some of the money he borrowed from the victim to pay bills.

According to court documents tendered for sentencing, Cropper is no longer employed with the Salvation Army following his arrest.

He told corrections officials he began to use gambling as a means of “coping with the stress he was experiencing in his role as an alcohol and drug counsellor”, and wanted to look after victim “upon his release from custody”.

Mr Prowse sentenced Cropper to 22 months behind bars with a minimum non-parole period of 16 months.

After time served, Cropper will be first eligible for release in September, next year.

Cropper’s been behind bars since his arrest after he was found to be an unacceptable risk of failing to appear and endangering the safety of victims and said the police case against Cropper involved a substantial amount of money and there was planning involved.