Florida girl accused of swindling $2.8M from Holocaust survivor in romance rip-off

A 36-year-old Florida girl used a romance rip-off to defraud a Holocaust survivor of his $2.8 million life financial savings, federal prosecutors mentioned Wednesday.

Peaches Stergo of Championsgate, southwest of Orlando, was arrested Wednesday in Florida and is charged with one depend of wire fraud, the U.S. Lawyer’s Workplace for Southern New York mentioned.

Stergo, who additionally goes by “Alice,” met the sufferer, an 87-year-old Manhattan man, on a relationship web site six or seven years in the past, officers mentioned.

In 2017 she requested for cash — claiming she’d gotten a settlement from a lawsuit however wanted to pay her lawyer to obtain it — prosecutors mentioned.

A sequence of lies over 4 years adopted, in keeping with an indictment.

Stergo falsely claimed she wanted increasingly cash or else her TD Financial institution accounts could be frozen and he would by no means be paid again, in keeping with the indictment.

She additionally faked emails pretending to be from TD Financial institution and faked invoices to offer to the sufferer’s financial institution to clarify the massive transfers, the indictment says.

In all, 62 checks for $2.8 million have been deposited in her accounts, in keeping with the indictment.

It stopped in October 2021 when the person advised his son he’d given his life financial savings to the girl however was promised he’d be repaid and the son mentioned he’d been scammed, in keeping with the indictment.

An legal professional for Stergo wasn’t listed in on-line federal court docket paperwork. A quantity listed as belonging to her did not seem like operational.

Stergo spent the cash on a house, a rental, a ship, journeys, vehicles and Rolex watches, prosecutors mentioned.

Individuals misplaced greater than $1 billion in romance scams throughout the U.S. in 2021, the FBI mentioned in February. There have been round 24,000 victims that 12 months, the company mentioned.

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