A federal grand jury indicted a New York woman for lying to FBI agents who were investigating a fraudulent fundraising scheme she is accused of operating following the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown last month.
The indictment, returned by a grand jury Tuesday, alleges that Nouel Alba, 37, of the Bronx used her Facebook account, telephone calls and text messages to falsely claim to be an aunt of a shooting victim and supply fictitious details about the aftermath of the tragedy in order to solicit donations on the pretext that she was collecting on behalf of the family for the child's "funeral fund."
Alba allegedly instructed would-be donors to send money to a PayPal account she controlled.
The indictment will take the place of a criminal complaint in which federal prosecutors charged Alba with the same offense three weeks ago.
The indictment charges that, when questioned by FBI agents, Alba denied posting information related to Newtown on her Facebook account, having contact with anyone about such postings or recently accessing her PayPal account.
Alba is accused in the indictment with one count of making false statements to federal agents, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years and a fine of up to $250,000.
She was arrested on December 27, 2012, and she has been released on a $50,000 bond since the date of her arrest.
"Investigators continue to monitor the Internet to uncover other fundraising scams arising from this tragedy, and any individuals who attempt to profit through these schemes will be prosecuted," said U.S> Attorney David B. Fein.
Fein also asked people with knowledge of Newtown-related fundraising schemes to call the FBI in Connecticut at 203-777-6311.