Home US Haunting final words of widow Laura Kowal who mysteriously drowned in river after giving $1.5m to Match.com scammer

Haunting final words of widow Laura Kowal who mysteriously drowned in river after giving $1.5m to Match.com scammer

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Laura Kowal (pictured), 57, mysteriously drowned in the Mississippi River after being scammed out of $1.5 million by a man she met online.

An Illinois widow was found dead hundreds of miles from her home after she was scammed out of $1.5 million by a man who met her on a dating app.

Laura Kowal, 57, had been in a relationship with a man she met on Match.com named ‘Frank Borg’ for more than a year when his body was discovered in the Mississippi River in August 2020.

Her daughter, Kelly Gowe, received a call from a federal agent notifying her that her mother had been the victim of a scam and when she tried to contact her, she discovered she was missing.

While trying to find clues as to where his mother went, Gowe told him CBS News found records showing that Kowal had wired Borg, which turned out to be a false name, $1.5 million and a disturbing note.

‘I’ve been living a double life for the past year. It has left me ruined and destroyed. Yes, it’s about Frank, the man I met through online dating. “I tried to stop this many times, but I knew she would end up dead,” Kowal wrote to her daughter in a haunting letter.

Laura Kowal (pictured), 57, mysteriously drowned in the Mississippi River after being scammed out of $1.5 million by a man she met online.

Borg's photos belonged to a Chilean doctor

Emails sent by Borg were traced to Ghana

Kowal had been in a relationship with a man she met on Match.com called ‘Frank Borg’ who used the photos above.

Her daughter, Kelly Gowe (right), received a call from a federal agent notifying her that her mother had been the victim of a scam.

Her daughter, Kelly Gowe (right), received a call from a federal agent notifying her that her mother had been the victim of a scam.

On August 7, 2020, Kowal’s body was discovered near Canton, Missouri, nearly four hours from his home in Galena, Illinois, and his car was recovered nearly 50 miles from his body, it reported. WTVO.

No formal decision has been issued on how Kowal died, but her autopsy determined she died from drowning.

‘They are the scammers, they are the criminals behind those emails. It’s Frank Borg… this character. “He killed my mom,” Gowe said.

“And everyone who is involved in this scam in any capacity, those who move the money, those who make a phone call, those who press “enter” and “send” on an email, they are all responsible for the death of my mother”.

Emails shared with CBS News showed that within weeks of meeting virtually in 2018, Kowal and Borg were sharing emails telling each other they were in love despite never having met in person and he convinced her to send him money.

‘She had all these buckets full in her life, my mother had them, but one was missing, which was companionship. And that’s ultimately the situation we’re in now, and that’s why,” Gowe said.

According to her obituary, Kowal loved tending her flower and vegetable gardens, participating in local golf leagues and volunteering in dog therapy work with her beloved golden doodle Effie at a nursing home.

Federal agents discovered that Borg’s photographs belonged to a Chilean doctor and his emails traced back to Ghana.

Nearly 70,000 people reported a romance scam in 2022, according to the Federal Trade Commission, a government watchdog.

Reported losses reached a staggering $1.3 billion, with victims losing $4,400 on average.

“Digital tools are making it easier than ever to reach working Americans, and we see the effects of that in the data,” said Samuel Levine, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection.

Romance scammers routinely create fake social media profiles to target victims online.

Gowe found records showing Kowal had transferred Borg $1.5 million and a haunting note from her mother stating she knew she would end up dead.

Gowe found records showing Kowal had transferred Borg $1.5 million and a haunting note from her mother stating she knew she would end up dead.

No formal ruling has been made on Kowal's manner of death, but her autopsy determined that she died from drowning.

No formal ruling has been made on Kowal’s manner of death, but her autopsy determined that she died from drowning.

Kowal loved gardening, participating in local golf leagues, and volunteering therapy dog ​​work with her beloved golden doodle Effie (center) at a nursing home.

Kowal loved gardening, participating in local golf leagues, and volunteering therapy dog ​​work with her beloved golden doodle Effie (center) at a nursing home.

They engage in a long campaign, often involving hours of messaging every day, to build a relationship with the victim before diverting the conversation to money.

In some cases, criminals will present an investment opportunity or solicit funds for a fake medical procedure or charitable initiative.

So-called “pig butcher” scams fall into this category, where victims are effectively “fattened” with a fake relationship before being “butchered” through fraudulent investment advice.

“We really need help,” said Paul Benda, executive vice president of risk, fraud and cybersecurity at the American Bankers Association, in an interview with CNBC.

‘We need the social media companies to shut down these people posting this. We need law enforcement to commit to trying to prosecute some of these people. Unless you put a bad guy behind bars, that guy is going to keep doing what he’s doing.

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