A Wisconsin woman who came to Washington last month saying she wanted to take her ailing father home to England to die pleaded guilty yesterday in an Arlington court to defrauding a local motel of the pair's room bill.
General District Court Judge Thomas R. Monroe sentenced Cathy Noha, 32, to 30 days in jail, but suspended 23 days of sentence and ordered Noha freed. Noha has been in the Arlington County jail since her arrest Dec. 21.
Noha, who said she is a former astrology columnist for a now-defunct California newspaper, was also ordered to repay by New Year's Day the $382 she owes the Howard Johnson's Motor Lodge, 2646 Jefferson Davis Hwy., in Arlington.
Noha, originally charged with a felony count, pleaded guilty yesterday to a reduced, misdemeanor charge of defrauding the motel of less than $100 in a plea-bargaining arrangement.
The room charges were accumulated at the motel from Nov. 13 to Nov. 20, immediately before Noha and her father, Charles Noha, 71, were scheduled to fly to England with first-class tickets she later acknowledged in an interview had been obtained under false circumstances.
An Arlington travel agent declined to press charges in that incident after the tickets were returned unused.
The Nohas arrived in Washington from the Green Bay area of Wisconsin, using an address that police in Marinette County, Wis., said is an empty lot under a bridge.
Cathy Noha later acknowledged using the name of an Ohio company without authorization to order first-class round-trip tickets to England and charge them to the company's account.
During this period they stayed at the Arlington motel, paying for their room from Nov. 3 to Nov. 12, but leaving on Nov. 20 without paying the balance, according to officials.
On Nov. 21, she and her father were in the passenger's lounge at Dulles International Airport when fog closed Heathrow Airport in London, canceling their Pan American flight. Airline officials learned the tickets were unauthorized soon afterward.
Court officials said yesterday the Travelers Aid Society would attempt to raise money for the family's return to Wisconsin.