December 28th, 2012
10:19 AM ET

Woman arrested by FBI after AC360 report on Newtown charity fraud

In sickening acts of exploitation, scam artists use tragedy as an opportunity to profit. The school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut was no exception. Last week CNN confronted a woman who was allegedly using the name of a young victim to solicit donations. Today she was arrested by the FBI on charges of lying to federal agents investigating fraudulent fundraising.

When our producer, David Fitzpatrick, went to the Bronx home of Nouel Alba, 37, she denied any connection to an email asking for money for the funeral of 6-year-old Noah Pozner. Fitzpatrick told her that the Pozner family was alarmed to learn a stranger was collecting funds just days after Noah’s death.

Alba wouldn’t come on camera, but allowed us to record her voice. She admitted it was her email address, but she told CNN a PayPal account where donations were sent does not belong to her. “I never sent this email out. I don’t have a reason to send any email out,” Alba said. Her explanation at the time was that enemies in the online crafting community were responsible.

“It is unconscionable to think that the families of the victims in Newtown, and a sympathetic community looking to provide them some sort of financial support and comfort, have become the targets of criminals,” stated Kimberly K. Mertz, Special Agent in Charge of the New Haven Division of the FBI.

If Alba is convicted, she could be fined up to $250,000 with a maximum sentence of five years.

Topics: AC360 • CNN
December 28th, 2012
09:35 AM ET

Sen. Snowe: Modify legislation to expire tax cuts on incomes over $400,000

Senator Olympia Snow (R-ME) highlights importance of avoiding fiscal cliff and says that the failure to reach a deal is based on “stubbornness.”

Sen. Snowe says, “It’s going to begin in the Senate, in my estimation, to address [the fiscal cliff] and to modify maybe that legislation to go to the $400,000 the president suggested.”

Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien airs weekday mornings from 7-9am ET on CNN.

Topics: CNN • CNN Politics • Starting Point
December 28th, 2012
09:17 AM ET

Sen. Stabenow on fiscal cliff: "We're really stuck;" blames "extreme" House Republicans

Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) stresses high stakes of going over the fiscal cliff and points fingers at House Republicans.

Sen. Stabenow says, “The tough part is in the House where they have taken this very extreme position about protecting the wealthiest Americans at all costs, even holding middle class families hostage to do it. And that really isn't rhetoric. That’s what we're seeing it over and over again.”

She continues, “I absolutely believe if it were up to the Senate Democrats and Republicans, we would get this done. I think the problem is, unfortunately, with the extreme elements in the House, and for whatever reason the speaker won't act…. Even on something like a farm bill that we sent back in June that has $24 billion in cuts to eliminate subsidies that everybody agrees ought to be eliminated, we can't even get them to take that up.”

Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien airs weekday mornings from 7-9am ET on CNN.

Topics: CNN • CNN Politics • Starting Point