The FBI has caught the most terrible person of the week — maybe the month, maybe even the year. Federal authorities announced Thursday that they have arrested Nouel Alba, who they allege posed as an aunt of one of the 20 first-graders killed in the Newtown shootings, claimed to have identified his body, and proceeded to collect and solicit money for a bogus funeral fund over Facebook. The public first learned about the 37-year-old Alba's true identity after NBC News's Jeff Rosen spoke with the family of Noah Pozner, the youngest of the six-year-old victims at Sandy Hook Elementary. They didn't know who Alba was, exactly, but they knew she had been telling Facebook friend that she was Noah's aunt and that she was devastated, and that people could help by giving her money through Paypal or wiring her money. Now Alba isn't just being charged with posting a bogus Facebook account to solicit donations but also, according to the criminal report, for going so far as to speak with the donors in pleading for money:
Yes, you're reading that right: In order to convince someone to give her money, Alba allegedly made up a lie about identifying the body of a dead first grader. That's pretty gross. But it's also a bad lie, since the FBI states that no one — not even parents — were allowed on school grounds since it was an active crime scene. (Connecticut state police have said they showed photos to the parents instead.) And, according to the FBI document, Alba is also facing charges of lying to a federal officer:
We don't really know how much money Alba received, but we do know that she sat on the money, and that, eventually, everyone got their money back. "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,'" reports NPR's Mark Memmott.
The full criminal complaint can be found here:
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.