U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York

Florida Woman “Peaches” Romance Scams 87-Year-Old Holocaust Survivor Out Of $2.8 Million

Florida Woman Peaches Stergo
Peaches Stergo (U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York)

Florida woman, Peaches Stergo, 36, has been charged with engaging in a years-long scheme to defraud an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor of his life savings. 

Peaches was arrested on Jan 25, according to the Justice Department.

“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.  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,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams.

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According to the indictment, from at least in or about May 2017, up to and including at least October 2021, Peaches engaged in a scheme to defraud an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor (the “Victim”) of over $2.8 million, which was his life savings. 

Peaches met the Victim on a dating website approximately six or seven years ago.  In or about early 2017, Peaches asked the Victim to borrow money to pay her lawyer, who she claimed was refusing to release funds from an injury settlement. 

After the Victim gave her the money, Peaches said the settlement funds had been deposited into her TD Bank account.  In reality, bank records show Peaches never received any money from an injury settlement.

According to the DOJ, over the next four and a half years, Peaches continued her lies.  She repeatedly demanded that the Victim deposit money into her bank accounts. She claimed that if he did not, her accounts would be frozen, and he would never be paid back.  In total, the Victim wrote 62 checks — totaling over $2.8 million — that were deposited into one of two of Peaches’ bank accounts. 

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Authorities say the woman also created a fake email account, intended to appear as if it belonged to a TD Bank employee.  She also created fake letters from a TD Bank employee and fake invoices.

“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.  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,” said the DOJ.

Peaches Stergo, 36, of Champions Gate, Florida, is charged with one count of wire fraud, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

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