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A woman who authorities say posed as an aunt of one of the 20 children killed in the attack on an elementary school in Newtown, Conn., and used a Facebook account to solicit money for a "funeral fund" has been arrested and charged with lying to federal agents.
The FBI and a U.S. Attorney in Connecticut allege that 37-year-old Nouel Alba of the Bronx, "used her Facebook account, telephone calls and text messages" during the alleged scam. Then:
"When contacted by FBI Special Agents investigating fundraising and charity scams related to the Newtown tragedy, Alba falsely stated that she did not post information related to Newtown on her Facebook account, solicit donations or recently access her PayPal account. Alba also falsely claimed to have immediately refunded any donations that she received."
She has been charged and released on a $50,000 bond. If convicted of making false statements, Alba could get a five-year prison sentence and a fine of up to $250,000.
Alba could also potentially be charged with wire fraud, "access device fraud" and "interstate transportation of stolen property," authorities say.
Alba allegedly used the screen name "Victorian Glam Fairys" on Facebook and pretended to be the aunt of 6-year-old Noah Pozner. According to the criminal complaint filed against her:
-- In one telephone conversation with a donor to the "funeral fund," she falsely "claimed to have had to go to Sandy Hook Elementary School and enter the crime scene to identify her nephew for law enforcement personnel."
-- In text messages, she also falsely told the donor that she had been among the family members who met with President Obama when he visited Newtown.
-- Alba "caused victim funds ... to be deposited in her PayPal acount from Dec. 15, 2012, through Dec. 18, 2012. ... On Dec. 18, ... Alba refunded the money to the original depositors and one transaction was reversed by the original depositor." [The complaint does not state how much money was collected.]
-- When speaking with FBI agents, she allegedly lied about what she had posted on Facebook and that she had used a Paypal account to collect donations.