The Darkest Edge
|Jim Kouri||December 28th 2012|
A resident of New York City faces federal charges in a charity scam that surprised and disgusted investigators and reporters covering the police beat on Thursday, according to a law enforcement source. Nouel Alba, a 37-year old resident of the Bronx, New York, was arrested and charged with lying to FBI agents in connection with their investigation into a fraudulent fundraising scheme related to the Newtown school shooting tragedy. The complaint alleges that Alba used her Facebook account, telephone calls, and text messages to falsely claim to be a relative of one of the shooting victims in the mass-murder at the Newtown, Conn., schoolhouse. The killer's shooting spree left 26 dead at the school including 20 youngsters.
According to the FBI, Alba solicited money from scam victims who wanted to help in some way. Alba claimed that the money was for the child’s “funeral fund.” At Alba's direction, scam victims transferred money into 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, according to the report.
“This arrest should serve as a warning to anyone who attempts to profit from this tragedy by contriving fraudulent schemes that exploit the many victims, their families and individuals who sincerely want to help,” stated U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut David Fein.
“Investigators continue to monitor the Internet to uncover other fundraising scams arising from this tragedy, and the individuals operating them face federal or state prosecution to the fullest extent permitted by law,” Fein said in a press release.
Following her arrest, the suspect appeared before United States Magistrate Thomas P. Smith in Hartford, and was released on bail after posting a $50,000 bond. If convicted of making false statements to federal agents, Alba faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Jim Kouri writes for The Examiner, from where this article was adapted.