FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- They walked away from their carpet and flooring business, leaving customers at a loss. Now, they're walking away from an Action News investigation into criminal charges against the former owners of Abbey Flooring.
"Hi. Corin Hoggard from Channel 30," said our reporter, introducing himself to Glennyce Cropper.
"Oh," she said and walked away.
Prosecutors have now charged Glennyce and her husband, Gary Cropper with 15 felony counts, including grand theft from their customers. The unfinished remodel Sandra Meachum showed Action News was just the tip of the iceberg. In October 2012, the Croppers asked Meachum for more money to finish the job. She gave them $2,000. The next day, another customer says he gave them $5,000. The day after that, the Croppers closed up shop. The work never got done. In all, investigators say the Croppers took at least $160,000 from 15 victims under the false pretense of performing various remodeling projects they knew would never get done. "They were just taking the money for their own personal use," said ABC30 legal analyst Tony Capozzi.
In an arrest warrant, investigators say the Croppers were writing themselves checks totaling more than $500,000 in the six months before they closed the business. When they filed for bankruptcy, the courts discharged $3.5 million in debts. Customers, investors, contractors were all left with nothing. "In the business there was no money because they already took all the money out of it in the weeks before they filed for bankruptcy, so there was nothing to get any more," said investor and employee Frank van Shaik. "So no, I didn't get a penny."
Van Shaik invested $100,000 in Abbey Flooring based on what he now believes were false documents showing profits. He's been waiting for some recognition that the Croppers didn't just run a business into the ground. He got it in 2015, when prosecutors filed a felony case three years after the business closed. Capozzi says that kind of delay isn't too unusual with financial crimes. "It's a white collar type of offense which takes time to investigate because you have to subpoena banks, subpoena personal records of a number of people," he said.
Capozzi says the missing $500,000 leads him to believe there may also be bankruptcy fraud.
Van Shaik says he doubts anyone will ever get their money back. He just wants the Croppers found guilty of some kind of crime. "Because then at least it shows not only them, but also the public, that these people have been doing things by breaking the law," van Shaik said.
Action News tried to ask the Croppers about the criminal case, but they didn't want to discuss details. Their lawyer hadn't returned our phone calls as of the newscast.
Gary and Glennyce Cropper pleaded not guilty to eight counts of grand theft and seven counts of diverting construction funds.
Fresno flooring company owners charged with grand theft
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