Plea agreement accepted for puppy scammer

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 3, 2004

Convicted puppy scammer Monica Binkley’s voice was barely audible on Friday as she answered &uot;guilty&uot; to additional charges stacked against her.

Judge Rodham T. Delk accepted a plea agreement from Binkley, consolidating the nine new charges, which had included three counts of obtaining money and property under false pretenses; one count of parental abduction, and five counts of child abuse. Most of the incidents occurred in 2003.

Binkley was scheduled for sentencing on the puppy scamming charges Friday; however, Delk agreed to move the date to Oct. 28 to handle all of the indictments collectively. The plea agreement merged the nine counts into three.

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Binkley – known to many as Monica Arnold – made the national spotlight last December after she fled to Texas with a U-Haul trailer filled with more than 50 puppies, most of which had already been sold. In some cases Binkley told buyers that the dogs were AKC registered when they were not, accepted money in advance, and never delivered.

In July, Binkley was found guilty

of four counts of defrauding puppy buyers and one count of writing a worthless check.

The new charges stem from taking her daughter with her to Texas, without the father’s consent and/or court approval and her alleged negligence of her daughter’s medical condition. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Susan Walden said Friday that the child’s arthritis required regular shots, which the mother did not provide.

Also, Walden added, Binkley told many of her prospective puppy buyers the child had cancer, and led the child to believe she had cancer. Walden also told the court that the child was not attending school or being home schooled.

As part of the plea agreement, Binkley would not be able to see her child without the blessing of a therapist after an evaluation.

Walden requested a victim impact statement, and Binkley’s attorney Del Brown asked that her client be evaluated for alternate punishment, which could include a reverse work release program. Because Binkley was already on probation at the time of the arrest last year, her sentencing could also reflect the parole violation.

The plea agreement on the new charges tried in court Friday calls for Binkley to pay restitution of $400 each to two victims; supervised probation for seven years, the completion of a parenting and anger management class and no contact with the victims.