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Woman who mysteriously drowned after giving $1.5 million to scammer said she knew she’d ‘end up dead’
Featured Image Credit: CBS News

Woman who mysteriously drowned after giving $1.5 million to scammer said she knew she’d ‘end up dead’

Laura Kowal was found dead miles away from her home.

A woman who mysteriously drowned said she knew she'd 'end up dead' in a letter addressed to her daughter after giving $1.5 million to a scammer she'd met online.

After her husband of 24 years passed away, Laura Kowal decided that it was time to find love again and joined a dating site.

It was there that the 57-year-old met a man online called ‘Frank Borg’ in 2018, who, according to his profile, was a Swedish businessman based in the US.

It was believed that the pair were in a relationship for nearly two-years, and primarily contacted each other via email and phone calls.

In emails seen by CBS News, after 12 days, Kowal expressed her love for 'Frank', writing: "My heart is ready for you!" before ending her email with: "Love you, Frank! Your [sic] in my heart forever!"

However, in August 2020, her daughter Kelly Gowe received a call from a federal agent saying that her mother 'may have been involved in a fraud scam' as a victim.

Laura Kowal with her daughter Kelly Gowe. (CBS News)
Laura Kowal with her daughter Kelly Gowe. (CBS News)

When Gowe attempted to contact her mother, it was discovered that she was missing.

Two days later, Kowal was found near Canton, Missouri, hundred of miles away from her home in Galena, Illinois - with her autopsy determining that she had died by drowning.

However, a formal ruling was not conducted regarding the manner of Kowal's death.

And in a letter Kowal wrote for her daughter, which she'd found while searching for her mother, she said that she knew she would ‘end up dead’.

"You were right in your judgment of me," it said. “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.”

Gowe said her mother gave the scammer $1.5 million - her entire life savings - and blamed the scammers for her death, telling CBS News: “It's the scammers, It's the criminals behind those emails. It's Frank Borg… this character. He killed my mom.

Kowal wrote a letter to her daughter. (CBS News)
Kowal wrote a letter to her daughter. (CBS News)

“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.”

“She had all these buckets full in her life, my mom did, but there was this one bucket that was missing and that was companionship. And that's ultimately where we're at now, is because of that.”

Federal agents discovered that photos on Borg's account belonged to a Chilean doctor while his emails were traced back to Ghana - but have been unable to fully verify his identity, CBS reports.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, in 2022, nearly 70,000 people had reported a romance scam.

Director Samuel Levine said: "Digital tools are making it easier than ever to target hard-working Americans, and we see the effects of that in the data."

Topics: News, US News, Sex and Relationships