New York woman indicted in Newtown shooting charity scam
NEW YORK (CNN) — A Bronx woman accused of a charity scam after the Connecticut school shooting was indicted Tuesday on charges of scheming to defraud and identity theft, according to prosecutors.
Nouel Alba, 37, is accused of falsely claiming to be an aunt of Noah Pozner, one of the 20 schoolchildren killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in December, the Bronx District Attorney’s Office said in a news release. On a Facebook page, she posted photos of Noah and solicited donations to pay for his funeral, the statement said. Donors sent $240 to a PayPal account between December 14 and 20, the statement said.
Alba was arrested at her home and was arraigned by Judge Martin Marcus, who set bail at $10,000, the district attorney’s office said.
Alba’s attorney, Justine Olderman, was not immediately available for comment Tuesday.
The charges of scheming to defraud and identity theft carry sentences of up to four years in prison after conviction.
Alba was indicted and charged on December 27 with one count of making false statements to federal agents. That charge carries a maximum term of five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000, prosecutors said.
Alba denied being involved in a scam during an appearance on CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 in December.
“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.”
CNN reports spurred the Bronx district attorney’s investigation, its news release said.
Noah, 6, 19 other children and six adults were shot to death at the Newtown school on December 14. The gunman, Adam Lanza, 20, killed himself after the rampage.