UK & World News

  • 28 December 2012, 1:53

Newtown Scam: Woman Set Up Fake Funeral Fund

A woman has been arrested by federal authorities who say she tried to scam donors by posing as a relative of one of the children killed at a Connecticut elementary school.

Thirty-seven-year-old Nouel Alba was arrested Thursday and charged with lying to FBI agents.

Federal prosecutors say she used 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 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtownto identify her nephew, according to the criminal complaint.

Authorities say Alba told them she did not know her PayPal account was being used to solicit money and refunded donations right after receiving them. According to the complaint, however, she did not return the donations until several days later.

Alba, of the Bronx, appeared Thursday in federal court in Hartford, Connecticut, and was released on $50,000 bond.

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, Alba faces a maximum prison term of five years and a fine of up to $250,000 (155,200).

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 Rubenstien, Connecticut's commissioner of consumer protection.