Investigators say an Iowa woman swindled friends, family and co-workers out of $730,000 by sending sweet, handwritten notes asking for loans to buy her husband a surprise for his birthday or their anniversary.

A federal indictment says 60-year-old Beverly De Ronde of Pella would claim she wanted to buy tools or equipment while there was a sale. She promised to repay the loans soon and thanked her lenders profusely for making her husband's dreams come true.

But the indictment says she used the money to buy antiques and other items for herself. Then she filed for bankruptcy and sent another letter, telling lenders to have no further contact with her or her husband.

De Ronde has been charged with 12 counts of mail fraud. Her phone rang unanswered Friday morning.