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Heartbreak: Lottery scam led to NJ grandmother's suicide

Insider BuzzInsider Buzz: Heartbreak: Lottery scam led to NJ grandmother's suicide

A Jamaica-based lottery scam promising a $2.5 million windfall cost Ann Mowle her entire life savings of $248,000 before the 72-year-old grandmother from Monroe decided she had enough.

Mowle donated her clothes to charity, left her beloved toy poodle Molly at a dog groomers and drove to Spring Lake on Oct. 31. A pair of fishermen found her body on the edge of a jetty at the Worthington Avenue beach the next day. Investigators determined Mowle's death was a suicide.

Mowle's family blames the vicious year-long con for the path to despair that ended on that Spring Lake beach.

The money she had set aside to travel in her retirement and help her grandchildren with college costs was gone. Attempts to recover the funds with the help of authorities only led to embarrassment. In Mowle's final months, she became a recluse — too afraid to leave her apartment and miss the phone call that would finally provide a return of her lost money.

"You're not talking about a gullible person," said her daughter JoAnn Trivisonno, of Virginia. "You're taking about a fearless woman. If this could happen to her, it could happen to anyone."

Mowle, a college graduate who raised three children as a single working parent, received the first letter promising a $2.5 million jackpot in October 2006. To collect, she had to pay $18,000 in fees, which Mowle sent. From there, the scam spiraled out of control with a barrage of phone calls from the con-artists who duped her into sending more cash.

As a former bookkeeper at Princeton University, Mowle kept meticulous records of her year-long deception by the phony Jamaican lottery officials.

Mowle left the documents in a tidy stack on her dining room table in her apartment at the Rossmoor adult community before she left for the last time. The records detail more than 50 wire transfers ranging from $158 to $4,750 to addresses in Jamaica between October 2006 and June.

Despite the paper trail including names and phone numbers, investigators have had little luck in tracking down the scam-artists behind the ploy.

(More details to come in a full story Tuesday.)

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24 comments. Last comment 9 years ago by KY Floyd.
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Coin Toss's avatar - shape barbed.jpg
Zeta Reticuli Star System
United States
Member #30470
January 17, 2006
10353 Posts
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Posted: November 13, 2007, 2:14 am - IP Logged

This is really a sad story, and confusing one.

"You're not talking about a gullible person," said her daughter JoAnn Trivisonno, of Virginia. "You're taking about a fearless woman. If this could happen to her, it could happen to anyone."

Mowle, a college graduate who raised three children as a single working parent, received the first letter promising a $2.5 million jackpot in October 2006. To collect, she had to pay $18,000 in fees, which Mowle sent. From there, the scam spiraled out of control with a barrage of phone calls from the con-artists who duped her into sending more cash.

As a former bookkeeper at Princeton University, Mowle kept meticulous records of her year-long deception by the phony Jamaican lottery officials.

Her daughter says "Ypu're not talking about a gullible person", yet she sent $18,000 in fees, and more cash after that. If she wasn't gullible why did she let it go so long and for so much?

The whole story on this should be interesting.

Something needs to be done about these internet scammers.  Exactly what, no one knows yet, but something.

Those who run the lotteries love it when players look for consistency in something that's designed not to have any.

Lep

There is one and only one 'proven' system, and that is to book the action. No matter the game, let the players pick their own losers.

    s5thomps's avatar - Lottery-033.jpg
    Hard Luck, Ak
    United States
    Member #23472
    October 13, 2005
    275 Posts
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    Posted: November 13, 2007, 3:55 am - IP Logged

    This is really a sad story, and confusing one.

    "You're not talking about a gullible person," said her daughter JoAnn Trivisonno, of Virginia. "You're taking about a fearless woman. If this could happen to her, it could happen to anyone."

    Mowle, a college graduate who raised three children as a single working parent, received the first letter promising a $2.5 million jackpot in October 2006. To collect, she had to pay $18,000 in fees, which Mowle sent. From there, the scam spiraled out of control with a barrage of phone calls from the con-artists who duped her into sending more cash.

    As a former bookkeeper at Princeton University, Mowle kept meticulous records of her year-long deception by the phony Jamaican lottery officials.

    Her daughter says "Ypu're not talking about a gullible person", yet she sent $18,000 in fees, and more cash after that. If she wasn't gullible why did she let it go so long and for so much?

    The whole story on this should be interesting.

    Something needs to be done about these internet scammers.  Exactly what, no one knows yet, but something.

    I have to agree with your comments Coin Toss. You should never have to send money to claim a prize. It amazes me how people can fall these scams. She would have been better of going to a lottery retailer and purchasing a ticket. Chances are she would not have won, but at least you know they are legitimate.   

                                                          I Agree!

      Big Hitter's avatar - tdspin17 e0.gif
      Constitutional Money Is Real Money
      Brick City
      United States
      Member #1216
      March 3, 2003
      1766 Posts
      Offline
      Posted: November 13, 2007, 7:41 am - IP Logged

      A curse on all the Jamacian scammers and their families. They deserve to boil in oil, every last one of them. With the amount of corruption in the government on that island, it will be a wonder if any of those s***bags are caught.

      Whatever you fear most has no power - it is your fear that has the power.
      Oprah Winfrey

      Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
      (attributed to) Albert Einstein

      I have failed many times, and that's why I am a success.
      Michael Jordan

      My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals
      himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.

      Albert Einstein

        rsb2323's avatar - winter
        Detroit
        United States
        Member #4046
        March 16, 2004
        234 Posts
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        Posted: November 13, 2007, 9:04 am - IP Logged

        A curse on all the Jamacian scammers and their families. They deserve to boil in oil, every last one of them. With the amount of corruption in the government on that island, it will be a wonder if any of those s***bags are caught.

        Her daughter says she wasn't a gullible woman.  It doesn't sound like she was with her education and background.  Those that do not sympathize with this story must consider this, I have received hundreds, literally hundreds of e-mails from these scammers and they make me laugh uproarously every time.  Their wording is amazing.  They actually make you think you've won. 

        Adding insult to injury, I decided to take a few of the most persitent ones for a ride myself and act as though I'd taken the bait.  The results were hillarious.  It was almost as if I could hear the desperation in their voices, the greed was overwhelming.

        When they thought they'd applied enough pressure, I'd hit them with an e-mail informing them that they'd been suckered by a fed up American.  That's putting it mildly.  I won't include the language I used.  You get the point.

        Unfortunately, they won't be caught and pulling scams on Americans is their main source of income.  Why not?  It works wonders for them.  They prey upon our elders like vultures.  They can't be stopped that's why so many of them do these scams.

        I have a small business on Amazon and they even try to pull scams on me to ship electronics overseas.  Amazon has my business listed as new so they seek out new companies to see if they'll take the bait.  The idea being that you ship items overseas, the items come up missing or undeliverable and they make an insurance claim.

        It's a shame but it happens.

        The newest scams they're hitting me with are ones that carry actual US company logos like Coca Cola, Pepsico, etc.  I always forward these scam mails to the companies.

          Avatar
          Amarillo/Austin
          United States
          Member #1424
          April 25, 2003
          696 Posts
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          Posted: November 13, 2007, 10:49 am - IP Logged

          If this happens to you, have some fun with them.  Tell them to send YOU money to assure they are open and above board.  Salesmen cannot handle partial agreement.  It drives them insane.  Human greed nails people every time. 

          Orangeman

            rsb2323's avatar - winter
            Detroit
            United States
            Member #4046
            March 16, 2004
            234 Posts
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            Posted: November 13, 2007, 11:46 am - IP Logged

            If this happens to you, have some fun with them.  Tell them to send YOU money to assure they are open and above board.  Salesmen cannot handle partial agreement.  It drives them insane.  Human greed nails people every time. 

            Orangeman

            You are so right.  I hate to say it but that is what happened to this dear woman, human greed.

            Bang Head

            It's funny but right after I left here, I checked my e-mail and yep, I'd received yet another of those LUCKY WINNER scams.  The guy that sent it had the nerve to have the name, "Barrister Dan Jacker."

              Avatar
              Kentucky
              United States
              Member #32652
              February 14, 2006
              7320 Posts
              Online
              Posted: November 13, 2007, 1:51 pm - IP Logged

              I have to agree with your comments Coin Toss. You should never have to send money to claim a prize. It amazes me how people can fall these scams. She would have been better of going to a lottery retailer and purchasing a ticket. Chances are she would not have won, but at least you know they are legitimate.   

                                                                    I Agree!

              There are probably 50 people for every 1 person we read about getting scammed because they are embarrassed. Other than filling a report and warning others, there is little or nothing their Police Department can do.

                justxploring's avatar - villiarna
                Wandering Aimlessly
                United States
                Member #25360
                November 5, 2005
                4461 Posts
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                Posted: November 13, 2007, 2:37 pm - IP Logged

                I agree with all of you.  How can anyone believe she won $2.5 million from another country and send money?  But it happens all the time. 

                It was probably the humiliation that killed her.  We will also never know what her family said to her.  I deleted my comment yesterday because I sounded so judgmental.  I understand what it's like to lose so much  (your home, money, health) and starting all over at age 72 can't be easy.  She must have been overwhelmed with shame and embarrassment.

                However, not long ago I sat with someone who was very ill, but wanted to live so badly just long enough to see his new greatgrandson.  The woman in this article had a family, so I just don't understand why she felt she had nowhere to turn.  The depression from falling victim to the scam must have been too much for her to handle.  So tragic.

                So - just this keep in mind everyone.  Unless you are in the final days of a debilitating illness crying in agony for the morphine (yes, I believe it's okay at that point) there is never, ever any excuse for taking your own life, especially over money, no matter how terrible things appear to be.  There is always another sunrise.

                I wrote this for myself too.

                  rsb2323's avatar - winter
                  Detroit
                  United States
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                  March 16, 2004
                  234 Posts
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                  Posted: November 13, 2007, 2:53 pm - IP Logged

                  I agree with all of you.  How can anyone believe she won $2.5 million from another country and send money?  But it happens all the time. 

                  It was probably the humiliation that killed her.  We will also never know what her family said to her.  I deleted my comment yesterday because I sounded so judgmental.  I understand what it's like to lose so much  (your home, money, health) and starting all over at age 72 can't be easy.  She must have been overwhelmed with shame and embarrassment.

                  However, not long ago I sat with someone who was very ill, but wanted to live so badly just long enough to see his new greatgrandson.  The woman in this article had a family, so I just don't understand why she felt she had nowhere to turn.  The depression from falling victim to the scam must have been too much for her to handle.  So tragic.

                  So - just this keep in mind everyone.  Unless you are in the final days of a debilitating illness crying in agony for the morphine (yes, I believe it's okay at that point) there is never, ever any excuse for taking your own life, especially over money, no matter how terrible things appear to be.  There is always another sunrise.

                  I wrote this for myself too.

                  Wow.

                  I can't agree with you more.

                  I've been there too.

                  US Flag

                    JackpotWanna's avatar - squiz

                    United States
                    Member #4121
                    March 23, 2004
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                    Posted: November 13, 2007, 3:38 pm - IP Logged

                    I want to cry.  This story is so sad.  My heart goes out to the family.

                      duckman's avatar - ducklogodrake64x64
                      Jacksonville Florida
                      United States
                      Member #23018
                      October 6, 2005
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                      Posted: November 13, 2007, 6:55 pm - IP Logged

                      Very sad story indeed.

                      Unfortunately, the email weasles out there are conning people out of money every minute of every day.

                      If everyone would follow simple rules such as those below, the email weasles would go away:

                      1. Assume ALL unsolicited emails are SCAMS. Period.

                      2. Never click on a link in any email you receive.

                      3. If something is "free" then it should cost ZERO. NOTHING. No bank account or credit card information should ever be required. Bogus claims such as "we just need your account information for verification only" means it is a scam.

                      Another favorite of mine are those companies which offer something for "free" and then want a shipping, handling, or other "fee" for it. If there is ANY fee or cost then it is NOT free. If someone offers something for free and then wants some other fee, then they have lied to you. SCAM.

                        LottoAce's avatar - WWI Flying_Ace.gif
                        N.C.
                        United States
                        Member #56005
                        October 28, 2007
                        834 Posts
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                        Posted: November 13, 2007, 9:21 pm - IP Logged

                        Believe it or not, I have a really good friend that I work, and fish with that fell for a very similiar scam.

                        His wife was supposibly playing some internet lottery. (I'll get back to that one) they recieved (from Candada) a check in the mail for 5800 dollars, along with a letter stating that he had to pay 1800 dollars in processing fees. His first instinct was, its a scam. but his wife conviced him that it was probably from the website she had been visiting and that it was legitimate. He went to the bank and deposited the check. after three days, THE CHECK CLEARED. the money was deposited into his bank account.

                        home free....right?..not quite.

                        he withdrew the 1800 bucks, got a money order and sent the money to the given address in Canada!

                        He never said a word to me.

                        guess what happened next. 7 days later he goes to draw out 20 bucks so we could go fishing at his banks atm. his account had been frozen! he went inside the bank while I waited in the truck. he came out with the most horrid look upon his face. he told me the entire story.

                        The check for the Lottery was a Fraud. how it cleared the first time, I don't know. I do know this.

                        I told him, "you know I keep up with Lottery's. you should have come to me and ask for some advice!"

                        "you should have trusted your first instinct and not listened to your wife."

                        The only legal Lotteries in the US are the State/Multistate funded lotteries!

                        The Powerball and The Cash 5 are the only legal lotteries in NC right now.

                        all the others are operating illegally, or are a scam.

                        Personally, I would never play even an out of country lottery. There was an American that won the Spanish El Goro. when he went to the lottery office to collect, The Spanish bastards refused to pay him because he was not a Spanish Citizen!

                        No Legitimate Lottery will ever CONTACT YOU and INFORM you that you are a winner. they would rather see you not collect! it is your responsibility to identify yourself as a winner and claim your prize!

                        He should have gotten some advice,

                        They better never send me one of those scam Lottery winning Checks.

                        I WILL GO DIRECTLY TO THE POLICE STATION TO SET UP A STING OPERATION!!!

                        Moral of the story.

                        never get involved in any buisiness deal that you know nothing about, without consulting an unbiosed outside expert.

                        unless you were a stock annalyist, CPA, finacial planner, with a buisiness degree, you wouldn't invest your retirement into a company without first checking it out would you?....if you had never even purchaced your first home, you wouldn't buy into real estate without an apprasial, or at least a realitor advice? would you?

                        I could have saved my friend alot of money, had he have seeked my advice. and even if I didn't know what to tell him, (which I did) I have had enough experience with Lotteries that I could have directed him down the right path. 

                        needless to say I had to spot him the gas money to go fishing that day. what are friends for?.

                        I only wish I could have saved him the heartache of loosing 1800 dollars!

                        If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

                          LottoAce's avatar - WWI Flying_Ace.gif
                          N.C.
                          United States
                          Member #56005
                          October 28, 2007
                          834 Posts
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                          Posted: November 13, 2007, 9:39 pm - IP Logged

                           Corrections...

                          7 days later he goes to draw out 20 bucks from his banks atm machine so we could go fishing.

                          we weren't fishing at his banks atm...LOL

                           

                          unless you were a stock annalyist, CPA, finacial planner, with a buisiness degree, you wouldn't invest your retirement into a company without seeking an experts advice? most of these people wouldn't either. why should you? even if you were such an expert yourself, I would hope you would have the wisdom to at least check the company out for yourself. 

                          I won't even try to fix the spelling....its late, I'm tired.

                          but I think you people get my point.:)

                            BobP's avatar - bobp avatar.png
                            Dump Water Florida
                            United States
                            Member #380
                            June 5, 2002
                            3104 Posts
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                            Posted: November 14, 2007, 1:37 am - IP Logged

                            The best advice is not to open contact with criminals no matter how savy you think you are.  Yes the person at the other end of the email is often a teenager, but they are working for real criminals who think nothing of doing you in.  To them you are nothing more then cash cows to be milked. No words you type are going to cause them the least concern no matter how dirty or threatening, they will laugh and move on to the next potential sucker forging your email address as the sender. 

                            The woman who killed herself must have cared more about her reputation then her family, (who should have been willing to take her in). 

                            BobP