A Florida woman scammed a Holocaust survivor on a dating site and stole $2.8 million from him

New York authorities released this image of Peaches Stergo, the woman accused of defrauding an 87-year-old man
New York authorities released this image of Peaches Stergo, the woman accused of defrauding an 87-year-old man

The US Attorney’s Office for Southern New York reported that a 36-year-old Florida woman used a dating website to scam a Holocaust survivor and take away your life savings.

The Championsgate woman, southwest of Orlando, was identified as Peaches Stergo and was arrested this week on charges of electronic fraud by an alleged robbery of more than $2.8 million from an 87-year-old man in Manhattan. Prosecutors say he used the money to buy Rolex watches, a boat and other luxury items.

“The defendant cruelly took advantage of an elderly man who was simply seeking companionship,” FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll stated in announcing the charges. If she is found guilty, He could face up to 20 years in prison.

According to the investigation, Stergo met his victim on an online dating platform six or seven years ago. And in 2017 she began to ask him for money, claiming that he needed to pay his lawyerwhich she claimed was refusing to pay her compensation funds for injuries in a car accident.

During four years the lies continued. “Stergo told the victim that his bank needed more money, otherwise the accounts would be frozen and the victim would never be reimbursed,” the indictment says. “The victim kept writing checks because she was afraid she would never see her money again.” stergo even forged emails posing as TD Bank and false bills to deliver to the victim’s bank to explain the large transfers.

Prosecutors note that, in total, 62 checks were deposited in Stergo accounts for a total value of $2.8 million. “The victim he lost his life savings and was even forced to give up his apartment”, warned the investigation.

The scam stopped in October 2021 when the man told his son that he had given his savings to Stergo under the promise that the money would be returned to him. According to the prosecution, that was when the son told him that he had been scammed and the man stopped sending checks to the woman.

After announcing Stergo’s arrest on Wednesday, Driscoll stressed that the FBI was “determined to bring justice to victims of fraud and to ensure that fraudsters face justice for their actions.”

The FBI reported that more than $1 billion was stolen in the United States with romance scams from some 24,000 victims in 2021.

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