Illinois Woman, Who Mysteriously Drowned After Giving $1.5 Million to Online Romance Scammers, Knew She'd 'End up Dead'

By Jace Dela Cruz

Apr 24, 2024 07:28 AM EDT

An Illinois woman who mysteriously drowned to death left a letter for her daughter to tell her that she knew she would "end up dead" after losing $1.5 million to an online romance scam. 

Dating Scam

(Photo : Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay)

Illinois Woman Found Dead After Losing $1.5 Million in Online Romance Scam

According to UNILAD, Laura Kowal, 57, decided it was time to find love again through an online dating site after her husband of 24 years passed away.

In 2018, she met a man named "Frank Borg" on According to his profile, he was a Swedish businessman based in the US. Kowal and Borg, believed to have been in a relationship for nearly two years, communicated via email and phone.

In emails seen by CBS News, Kowal expressed her love for him after 12 days, writing: "My heart is ready for you!" with "Love you, Frank! Your [sic] in my heart forever!" at the end of her email.

However, in August 2020, Kowal's daughter received a call from a federal agent telling her that her mother had been a victim of a scam. And when she tried to contact her mother, she discovered she was missing.

Two days later, Kowal's body was discovered in the Mississippi River near Canton, Missouri, miles away from her home in Galena, Illinois. An autopsy determined that she had died by drowning, but a formal ruling was not conducted about the manner of Kowal's death.

READ NEXT: FBI Says Americans Lost a Record $12.5 Billion to Online Scams in 2023 

Illinois Woman Says She's Been 'Living a Double Life'

While looking for clues about where her mother went, Kowal's daughter, Kelly Gowe, told CBS News she found records that showed her mom had wired Frank Borg $1.5 million and a haunting letter.

"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," Kowal wrote to her daughter, according to Daily Mail.

Kowal's daughter blamed the scammers for her mom's death.

"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," Gowe told CBS News.

Federal agents investigating the case discovered that Borg's name on his account was fake, while his photos belonged to a Chilean doctor, and his emails were traced to Ghana. 

According to the Federal Trade Commission, almost 70,000 individuals reported falling victim to romance scams in 2022, highlighting the prevalence of such fraudulent activities on online dating platforms. 

READ MORE: Bitcoin Money Launderer, Who Used Fake Churches as False Fronts in Romance Scams, Ordered to Pay Over $3.5M to Elderly Victims

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