Dec. 28: The FBI arrested a New York City woman yesterday for allegedly collecting fraudulent “funeral fund” donations for a child killed in the Newtown school massacre, claiming she was his aunt.
Nouel Alba, 37, of the Bronx was charged with making false statements to federal agents. She appeared before a US magistrate in Hartford, Connecticut, and was released on a $50,000 bond. If convicted, Alba could face a maximum five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The FBI says Alba used her Facebook account, telephone and text messages to solicit donations for the “funeral fund” of 6-year-old Noah Pozner, the first to be buried of the 20 children and six educators slain December 14 at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
The complaint states: At ALBA's instruction, donor-victims sent money to a PayPal account controlled and accessed by ALBA. When contacted by FBI Special Agents investigating fundraising and charity scams related to the Newtown tragedy, ALBA falsely stated that she did not post information related to Newtown on her Facebook account, solicit donations or recently access her PayPal account. ALBA also falsely claimed to have immediately refunded any donations that she received.
“It is unconscionable to think that the families of the victims in Newtown and a sympathetic community looking to provide them some sort of financial support and comfort have become the targets of criminals,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Kimberly Mertz. “Today’s arrest is a stern message that the FBI will investigate and bring to justice those who perpetrate Internet fundraising scams, especially those scams that exploit the most vulnerable in their time of shared sorrow.”