A Florida woman has been arrested and is facing federal charges after allegedly scamming a Holocaust survivor out of millions of dollars.
In a Wednesday press release the Justice Department alleged that 36-year-old Peaches Stergo defrauded an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor from New York out of $2.8 million, the victim’s life savings, as part of a scheme where she faked a romantic interest in him and depleted his accounts.
"As alleged, for years, Stergo deceived an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor, maliciously draining his life savings so she could become a millionaire through fraud," Damian Williams, United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, said in the press release.
"Stergo forged documents and impersonated a bank employee in exchange for a life of fancy trips, Rolex watches, and luxury purchases. Today’s arrest reemphasizes this Office’s commitment to seeking justice for victims of financial frauds."
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The indictment alleges that Stergo engaged in the scheme from 2017 to 2021 after meeting the victim seven years ago on a dating site and asked to borrow money to pay her lawyer for an injury settlement case that never existed.
Additionally, Stergo allegedly demanded that the victim write 62 checks to deposit into various accounts belonging to Stergo while she used the money to live a life of luxury.
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"While the Victim lost his life savings and was forced to give up his apartment, STERGO lived a life of luxury with the millions she received from the fraud: she bought a home in a gated community, a condominium, a boat, and numerous cars, including a Corvette and a Suburban," the press release states.
"During the course of the fraud, STERGO also took expensive trips, staying at places like the Ritz Carlton, and spent many tens of thousands of dollars on expensive meals, gold coins and bars, jewelry, Rolex watches, and designer clothing from stores like Tiffany, Ralph Lauren, Neiman Marcus, Louis Vuitton, and Hermes."
Stergo has been charged with one count of wire fraud which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.