Ann Mowle — Jamaican Lottery Scam Victim Commits Suicide
The day Ann Mowle was finally going to be rewarded, she anticipated that someone would knock on her door at the Rossmoor adult community in Monroe and give her her prize money.
"She told us it was going to be a Publishers Clearing House thing, " said Monroe Detective Robert Bennett, referring to scenes taped for television ads, when Publishers Clearing House delivers a fat check to an unsuspecting winner.
However, when police arrived at Mowle's home they soon realized she was the victim of an elaborate lottery scam, and warned her to ignore the calls and pleas for money.
She would not listen, said Bennett. "In her mind she knew it was wrong, but she was still committed and obsessed with this scam."
On Oct. 31 she drove to Spring Lake, and apparently jumped into the ocean. The following day two fishermen found her body adjacent to a jetty. Her death was ruled a suicide. When investigators tallied her losses to the lottery scam they pegged the figure at $248, 000.
Bennett recalled visiting Mowle's home, the day she thought she was going to strike it rich. The home was immaculate, he said. There was no indication Mowle was suffering from dementia. After her death police found a tidy pile of records on her dining room table, documenting her dealings with the lottery scam.
People in the scam were so brazen, said Bennett, that they did not hang up the phone, when they called while police were at Mowle's home.
"I spoke to these Jamaican lottery guys, and they laughed at me. They said, "You can't do anything about it, "' said Bennett.
After the visit police contacted Mowle's son and daughter, and told them how their mother was the obvious victim of a scam.
"We notified them and said they should keep an eye on her finances. That was the last time we dealt with her, " said Bennett.
The money was sent in the form of a money order, or in a Western Union wire transfer, according to Bennett.
The scam began in October 2006 when she received a letter in the mail informing her she had won $2.5 million. However, in order to collect she had to pay $18, 000 in upfront fees. Once she paid the operators of the scam kept asking for more.
The day she expected to receive the prize at her front door, she was told the money was being delayed while it was held up at a customs' office at the airport.
According to Bennett she had money in an annuity, and pleaded with the bank to allow her to withdraw more than was allowed, telling bank officials she needed the money to pay for cancer treatment.