HARTFORD, Conn. (TheBlaze/AP) — A New York City woman tried to scam donors by posing as the aunt of a child killed in the Connecticut school massacre, federal authorities said Thursday.
Nouel Alba, 37, was arrested Thursday and accused of using her Facebook account, telephone calls and text messages to seek donations for what she called a “funeral fund.” She told one donor that she had to enter the scene of the mass shooting in Newtown to identify her nephew, according to the criminal complaint.
Alba is charged with lying to FBI agents who were investigating charity scams related to the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, where a gunman killed 20 children and six adults on Dec. 14.
Alba, of the Bronx, appeared Thursday in federal court in Hartford and was released on $50,000 bond. A number listed for her was not in service.
In text messages with a donor, Alba allegedly said she hugged President Barack Obama during his visit to Newtown and said she was afraid to see her nephew in a casket: “11 gun shot in his little body,” she wrote, according to the complaint.
If convicted, she faces a maximum prison term of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.
The FBI is asking anybody with knowledge of scams related to the Newtown shootings to contact them. The state is also checking the identities of people soliciting money in the name of the Newtown victims, according to William Rubenstein, state commissioner of consumer protection.
Watch the Dec. 21 report on the Today show with a response from Alba:
Noah’s uncle said in the report he was “disgusted” by the behavior.
“It’s just a horrible thing to be doing,” the uncle said.
NBC’s Jeff Rossen went to Alba’s house where she denied doing such a thing.
“Then why is your account number on it, your bank routing number, your email and your PayPal information?” Rossen asked.
Her response: “Because I sell things online.”
Rossen then asked why she was posing to be a member of the family. Rossen reported that Alba said someone else posted it using her account information and Facebook.