If you'll remember, yesterday the FBI arrested one of the many scammers who have cropped up in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy. Nouel Alba, a woman from the Bronx, reportedly got people to send money to her PayPal account by posing as the aunt of one of the victims, six-year-old Noah Pozner. Yesterday--a week after being busted by both CNN and NBC--Alba was arrested and taken to Hartford, where she was charged with lying to investigators. Read more about it here.
Late yesterday, the U.S. Attorney in Connecticut released the criminal complaint against Alba. It makes for some pretty sickening reading. According to the complaint, Alba took to the page of her Facebook account at 1:30 pm--four hours after the shooting--claiming that she was the aunt of one of the victims and had provided pictures to help police identify them.
The next day, she posted her PayPal account information as well as a number for her account at Chase Bank. Later that day, she spoke on the phone with a prospective donor and told the mark that she'd actually been to Sandy Hook to identify her "nephew's" body. One problem--at the time, it was an active crime scene, and no one--not even next of kin--was allowed there.
Alba also claimed to have been in Newtown when President Obama came to meet with the victims' families, and even claimed she was torn up about going to Noah's funeral, saying the thought of "11 gun shot in his little body" was going to be hard to take. She did refund the money on December 18--but from the way I'm reading the complaint, it sounds like she only did it to cover her tracks after CNN and NBC came calling, and when she knew the FBI was paying a visit.
Alba told CNN that she had a falling out with some other scrapbookers on Facebook, and they set up this donation scheme to get back at her. She peddled the same story to the FBI. She also claimed that she only knew about the donations when she was notified of them via email, and refunded them immediately after resetting her password (which she says she forgot). She also claimed to have never interacted with any donors. However, the FBI not only has her phone and text records, but also has records of when she logged into her email and PayPal accounts.
Federal prosecutors in Connecticut have all but announced that Alba will likely face a superseding indictment. To my non-lawyer's mind, the only thing working in her favor is that she returned the money. Still, I hope they throw the library at her.