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Bronx woman indicted in alleged Newtown charity scam

By CNN Staff
updated 11:14 AM EST, Wed January 16, 2013
Nouel Alba of Bronx, New York, is accused of lying to the FBI about an alleged scam tied to the Sandy Hook school massacre.
Nouel Alba of Bronx, New York, is accused of lying to the FBI about an alleged scam tied to the Sandy Hook school massacre.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Nouel Alba accused of making false statements to FBI
  • She allegedly posed as an aunt of a shooting victim soliciting donations for funeral
  • She told CNN's 'AC360' she wasn't involved in alleged scam
  • If convicted, Alba faces up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000

(CNN) -- A 37-year-old Bronx woman accused of a charity scam after the Connecticut school mass shooting was indicted Tuesday on a charge of making false statements to the FBI, prosecutors said.

The federal indictment accuses Nouel Alba of Bronx, New York, of using "her Facebook account, telephone calls and text messages to falsely claim to be an aunt of a shooting victim and supply fictitious details about the aftermath of the tragedy in order to solicit donations on the pretext that she was collecting on behalf of the family for the child's 'funeral fund,'" the U.S. Attorney's office in Connecticut said.

Donors sent money to a PayPal account controlled by Alba, prosecutors said.

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When the FBI agents investigating charity scams contacted Alba, she "falsely stated that she did not post information related to Newtown on her Facebook account, have contact with anyone about such postings, or recently access her PayPal account," the prosecutor's office said.

Alba is charged with one count of making false statements to federal agents. The charge carries a maximum term of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, prosecutors said.

On December 14, a 20-year-old gunman shot up Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School, killing 20 children whose ages were 6 or 7 and six adults. He earlier killed his mother in their Newtown home. The gunman ended the rampage by killing himself, authorities said.

On December 19, CNN's "AC360" broadcast a story about the alleged ruse and interviewed Alba, who denied involvement in the alleged scam.

"This says -- this has your e-mail on it. Right there," said CNN investigative producer David Fitzpatrick. "This is about Noah Pozner's funeral."

"I never sent that," Alba replied.

Later in the interview, Alba identified one of her e-mail accounts presented by Fitzpatrick.

"Yeah, that's one of my gmails. ...Yeah, my personal account," she said during the interview. "But I never set up any funds for anybody."

Alba was arrested on December 27 and was released on a $50,000 bond, authorities said.

"Investigators continue to monitor the Internet to uncover other fundraising scams arising from this tragedy, and any individuals who attempt to profit through these schemes will be prosecuted," U.S. Attorney David B. Fein of Connecticut said in a statement.

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CNN's Michael Martinez contributed to this report.

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