Florida woman admits to bilking Holocaust survivor out of his life savings

Eighty-seven-year-old Holocaust survivor defrauded of his life savings – $2.8 million – by a woman he met on a dating website, Justice Department says.

By World Israel News Staff

An 87-year-old Holocaust survivor was defrauded of his life savings by a Florida woman he met online, the U.S. Justice Department announced last week.

The victim met the suspect, identified by the Justice Department as 36-year-old Peaches Stergo, on a dating website in early 2017.

Over the course of four years, authorities said, Stergo bilked her victim of $2.8 million as part of a romance scam.

Stergo then used the money to live a “life of luxury,” said Damian Williams, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York.

“Peaches Stergo stole the life savings from an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor who was just looking for companionship.  This conduct is sick – and sad.”

“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. Thanks to the hard work of the FBI and this Office, Stergo is being held accountable for her fraud.”

The Justice Department said that in 2017, Stergo convinced the victim to lend her money in order to pay her lawyer, whom she claimed had refused to transfer funds she needed from an injury settlement.

From early 2017 to October of 2021, the victim wrote Stergo 62 checks, with Stergo claiming in each instance that her accounts were about to be frozen, thus preventing her from paying back her previous loans to the survivor.

As part of her scam, Stergo impersonated a bank employee and used falsified emails and fake letters to fool her victim.

In January, Stergo was arrested. She has since pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.

Stergo faces up to 20 years in prison, with her sentence expected to be handed down on July 27. As part of her plea bargain, Stergo agreed to pay back $2,830,775, and to forfeit over 100 luxury items, including Rolex watches, designer purses and clothing, and large amounts of gold and jewelry.