story by Ariela Anis, April 18, 2023
Florida Woman Admits To Stealing $2.8M From 87-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor In Romance Scam
Romance Scam: Peaches Stergo pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud after admitting that she swindled nearly $3 million from elderly man.
On Friday (April 14, 2023), Peaches Stergo pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud after admitting that she swindled nearly $3 million out of an elderly man who survived the Holocaust. Stergo also agreed to hand over all the various luxury items that she purchased, and to pay 2,830,775 in restitution.
U.S. Attorney Damian Williams, with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, calls Stergo’s conduct “is sick.”
He adds, “Using the millions in fraud proceeds, Stergo lived a life of luxury, purchasing a home in a gated community and a Corvette, taking vacations at hotels like the Ritz-Carlton, and buying thousands in designer clothing, while at the same time causing her elderly victim to lose his apartment.”
He Was Looking for Companionship
According to the indictment against Stergo, she met her victim on a dating website several years ago. Upon connecting, she asked to borrow money from the man. She claimed that she needed financial help to pay an attorney in early 2017, so that he would help her receive funds from an injury settlement, that never even existed.
She Demands More Money
Being that there was never a settlement to draw money from, no funds were ever deposited into her account. So, she continued to demand more money from her victim, which lasted over the next four and half years. In total, the man wrote 62 checks equaling over $2.8 million. He continued sending her money until October of 2021, when he confided in his son about the situation, authorities said. The victim’s son told his dad he’d been scammed.
Fake Email Account
The indictment against Stergo also claimed that she impersonated a TD Bank employee, and even created a fake email account and fake invoices from the bank to help her con the older man, who ended up losing his life savings and his apartment during the scam.
As mentioned by the U.S. Attorney handling the case, Stergo’s romance scam saw her using her victim’s money to go on several shopping sprees.
For more information on how to protect yourself, visit Stayconnectednh.org