Drowned widow was scammed out of $1.5m in Match.com hoax: report | #datingscams | #lovescams

US News

An Illinois widow found dead hundreds of miles from home had been scammed out of $1.5 million by someone she met on a dating app — and had penned a chilling note predicting she “would end up dead” because of her secret “double life,” according to her family.

Laura Kowal, 57, had a nearly two-year online relationship with someone she assumed was a handsome Swedish businessman named “Frank Borg” whom she met on Match.com after she lost her husband of 24 years to cancer, her daughter, Kelly Gowe, told CBS News.

Gowe then got an alarming message from a federal investigator on Aug. 7, 2020, warning that her mom was feared to be the victim “in a fraud scam” — after which the widow vanished.

Laura Kowal had been in a relationship with a man she met on Match.com who called himself “Frank Borg” when she was found dead in the Mississippi River. CBS News

The panicked daughter raced to her mom’s home in Galena, Illinois, where she found a troubling, handwritten note addressed to her, she told the outlet.

“You were right in your judgment of me,” Kowal’s letter read.

“I’ve been living a double life this past year. It has left me broke and broken. Yes, it involves Frank, the man I met through online dating.

“I tried to stop this, many times, but I knew I would end up dead.”

The man claiming to be “Frank Borg” used photos of a doctor from Chile for his dating profiles. CBS News

The note also provided instructions on how to access her mother’s emails, which detailed how her “relationship” with “Frank” morphed over time — and how she was manipulated into sending more than $1.5 million to a phony company called Goose Investments.

Just two days after the call from the feds, Kowal’s body was found floating in the Mississippi River near Canton, Missouri, more than 200 miles from her home in Galena.

An autopsy was inconclusive and police ruled Kowal had died from drowning with no obvious signs of fair play.

Her family is not convinced.

Emails between Kowal and the scammer went from loving to transactional. CBS News

“I have never been ashamed if [a finding of suicide] was the outcome,” Gowe told CBS News.

“And it’s not because I don’t want to believe that. There would be some closure that would come if we were able to prove that my mom committed suicide. … But do I believe that they have been proactively seeking out evidence in an investigation beyond suicide? No.”

Investigators have yet to work out who “Frank” really is. His email were sent from Ghana, and the photos used were really stolen social media pics of a doctor in Chile, the report noted.

Gowe believes “Frank” caused her mother to feel “like she was endangered. That she was going to die.”

Kowal eventually told “Frank” that she was “struggling” with their relationship. CBS News

“It’s the scammers,” she said. “It’s the criminals behind those emails. It’s Frank Borg… this character. He killed my mom. And everyone that is involved in this scam in any capacity, that’s moving the money, that’s placing a phone call, that’s hitting ‘enter’ and ‘send’ on an email — they’re all responsible for my mom’s death.”

Kowal is just one of 64,000 Americans who were defrauded over $1.14 billion by romance scammers in the past year, according to the Federal Trade Commission, which says that number of victims is likely much higher.

Gowe believes at that point her mother and the scammer took their conversations offline, and that her mother began receiving threats.

Police said Kowal had died from drowning. CBS News

“I believe there were threats behind it, or maybe this was her way of recouping the money that she had given them,” Gowe said.

“It just really saddens me that it got to that point that ultimately she was participating in illegal behaviors, right? And I believe that she was doing that because she felt like she had to. There was no other choice.”

Last year Gowe left her job to dedicate herself to sharing her mother’s story in hopes that others don’t fall victim to similar schemes.

“I would not be doing her justice,” Gowe said, “if I wasn’t sharing this case and her story to help other victims, and to educate people so that nobody else falls victim to the crime of romance scamming.”

Load more…


Copy the URL to share

Click Here For Original Source.

. . . . . . .