New York Woman Indicted for Lying to Federal Agents Investigating Newtown Fundraising Fraud
|U.S. Attorney’s Office January 15, 2013|
David B. Fein, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that a federal grand jury sitting in Bridgeport returned an indictment today charging Nouel Alba, 37, of Bronx, New York, with making false statements to FBI agents in connection with their investigation into a fraudulent fundraising scheme related to the Newtown school shooting tragedy.
The indictment alleges that Alba used 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.” At Alba’s instruction, donor-victims sent money to a PayPal account controlled and accessed by Alba. The indictment further alleges that, when contacted by FBI special agents investigating fundraising and charity scams related to the Newtown school shooting, Alba 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 indictment Alba with one count of making false statements to federal agents, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.
Alba was arrested on a criminal complaint on December 27, 2012, and she has been released on a $50,000 bond since the date of her arrest.
“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,” stated U.S. Attorney Fein.
U.S. Attorney Fein noted that potential federal charges associated with fraudulent fundraising and charity schemes include wire fraud (18 USC 1343, 20-year maximum prison term), access device fraud (18 USC 1029, 10-year maximum prison term), and interstate transportation of stolen property (18 USC 2314, 10-year maximum prison term).
Individuals with knowledge of Newtown-related fundraising schemes are encouraged to contact the FBI in Connecticut at 203-777-6311.
U.S. Attorney Fein stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and each defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jonathan Francis.