While most Americans mourned the massacre of 20 children inside Sandy Hook Elementary School, a Bronx woman was hatching a scheme to profit from the shooting, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
Nouel Alba, 37, was charged in connection with an alleged scheme in which she posed as an aunt of one of the 6-year-old victims to solicit donations on Facebook and over the phone for a nonexistent funeral fund.
Alba, who has no relation to any of the victims, faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
“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,” David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, said in a statement. “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.”
“It is unconscionable to think that the families of the victims in Newtown and a sympathetic community looking to provide them some sort of financial support and comfort have become the targets of criminals,” stated FBI Special Agent in Charge Mertz. “Today’s arrest is a stern message that the FBI will investigate and bring to justice those who perpetrate Internet fundraising scams, especially those scams that exploit the most vulnerable in their time of shared sorrow.”