Federal prosecutors have arrested a woman from New York City on Thursday for allegedly making false statements to federal agents while posing as the aunt of Noah Pozner, a 6-year-old Jewish victim of the Newtown school massacre.
Nouel Alba, 37, of the Bronx, allegedly posed as Noah Pozner’s aunt, sending messages soliciting donations on the family’s behalf.
Alba denied the allegations, claiming instead that someone else had infiltrated her Facebook account to send the messages.
She appeared before a U.S. magistrate in Hartford, Conn., and was released on a $50,000 bond. If convicted, Alba could face a maximum five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
"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," said FBI Special Agent in Charge Kimberly 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."
NBC News reported last week that the scam began within an hour of the shooting.
Days later, she began soliciting donations.
"I'm disgusted by it," the boy's uncle, Alexis Haller, told NBC. "I think it's disgusting behavior."
U.S. Attorney David Fein said federal and state authorities "are actively monitoring the Internet and investigating multiple fundraising scams" stemming from the killings.
According to federal prosecutors, Alba also allegedly set up at least four charities to solicit donations after Hurricane Sandy.
Noah Pozner was one of 27 victims of the Newtown, Conn. Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre.
Gunman Adam Lanza killed 20 elementary school children and seven adults before turning the gun on himself.