A woman has been arrested and charged with posing as the aunt of a victim in the Sandy Hook massacre in Newtown, Connecticut. The FBI and U.S. Attorney in Connecticut claim that the woman was using her phony status to collect donations in the wake of the recent tragedy.
Authorities allege Nouel Alba, age 37, of Bronx, New York, used social networking sites, phone calls, and text messages to contact potential donors. Alba allegedly identified herself as an aunt of one of the Newtown victims, 6-year-old Noah Pozner, in order to gain sympathy and collect donations.
As reported by NPR, FBI special agents contacted Alba as part of ongoing investigations into scams involving Newtown charity and fundraising. When questioned by agents, Alba denied any involvement and claimed that she had not asked for any donations. Alba further stated that any funds she received recently had been returned to donors.
The federal complaint filed against Alba, provided by WTNH cites a Facebook entry from December, 15th, stating the following:
“We’ve set up a funeral fund for my brother and families. Anyone willing to make a donation can make one either through paypal @ [REDACTED] @gmail.com or by Direct Deposit @ JP Morgan Chase Bank NA &JPMC Routing Number xxxxxx 169 Account Number xxxxxxxxxxxxx 399. We like to Thank everyone for your prayers. We ask that you continue to not just pray for us but for the families who have lost their kid…”
Alba has been charged with “lying to a federal agent,” a crime which carries a sentence of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. She has currently been released on $50,000 bond.
Authorities are exploring the option of charging her with other crimes in relation to posing a the aunt of a Newtown victim.