NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A Bronx woman has been charged with fraud for posing as the aunt of a Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting victim and soliciting donations, the Bronx District Attorney’s Office said Tuesday.
A grand jury indicted Nouel Alba, 37, on scheme to defraud and identity theft charges, prosecutors said. Bail was set at $10,000 bond or $1,000 cash.
As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported, Alba had already been hit with federal charges but was indicted again, this time on state charges.
Prosecutors said she pretended to be the aunt of 6-year-old victim Noah Pozner and used her Facebook and PayPal accounts along with telephone calls and text messages to seek donations for what she called a “funeral fund.”
“I characterize it as one of the lowest things that could be done in this civilization,” Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson said. “When somebody attempts to profit on this kind of horror, this kind of tragedy, this kind of misery, it really shows self-interest of the worst sort.”
She was first arrested in December on charges she lied to federal officials about the case.
Extra: Read The Complaint (.pdf)
Prosecutors said Alba posed as “Victorian Glam Fairys” (cq) and identified herself as Pozner’s aunt, posting on Facebook, “My heart is entirely destroyed knowing my little man is gone.”
“We’ve set up a funeral fund for my brother and families. Anyone willing to make a donation can make one,” prosecutors said Alba wrote on Facebook. “We like to thank everyone for your prayers. We ask that you continue to not just pray for us but for the families who have lost their kid.”
Pozner was one of 20 children and six adults who were killed when gunman Adam Lanza opened fire at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. on Dec. 14.
Between Dec. 14 and Dec. 20, Alba received four donations to her PayPal account totaling $240, according to the indictment. At the time of Alba’s arrest, the FBI said all of the money that was donated had been refunded.
Alba, however, denied opening the account and said someone hacked into her Facebook page.
“We are shocked that the Bronx DA’s office would use its limited resources to prosecute a case that has already been brought against Ms. Alba in Federal Court where she has already denied these charges and is fighting to prove her innocence,” Alba’s attorney, Justine Olderman, said in a statement.
If convicted, she faces up to four years in prison.
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