Lainie Towell

A Canadian Woman’s Outrageous but True Story of Marriage Fraud


In 2004, a Canadian woman named Lainie traveled to Guinea West Africa and fell in love twice. First with the country’s dance, and then with a Guinean drummer named Keza. After several trips to Conakry, a few bouts of malaria, countless hours apprenticing in an African ballet and some visits to a witch doctor, Lainie and Keza got married. She then sponsored him to come to Canada. Twenty-nine days after Keza arrived in Lainie’s country, he disappeared. He was now a permanent resident of Canada.

If Keza collected welfare, as his sponsor, Lainie would be responsible for reimbursing the government thousands of dollars. Refusing to remain a victim, she took matters into her own hands. Lainie exposed her broken heart along with Canada’s lax immigration laws and went public with her story. Shortly after, a Border Services Officer saw her story in the news and launched an investigation. Lainie discovered first-hand that one woman’s courage and tenacity can spark a movement that helps to change an entire system.