• Peaches Stergo met the victim on a dating site
  • The victim wrote 62 checks amounting to $2.8 million over four years
  • Stergo defrauded him to the point where he was forced to give up his home

A Florida woman is accused of weaving a romance scam to drain the life savings of an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor who was seeking companionship and became a millionaire herself.

The woman, identified as ChampionsGate resident Peaches Stergo, was arrested Wednesday and produced in the Middle District of Florida for engaging in a four-year-long scheme to defraud the elderly man. The money she stole was used to pay for expensive hotel stays and swish purchases that included a boat, cars, and a Rolex watch amongst other things.

Stergo allegedly defrauded the man from about May 2017 up to at least October 2021, and banked over $2.8 million, which was all of the elderly victim's life savings, ABC reported. The man continued to pay Stergo to the point where he was required to give up his apartment.

The two met on a dating site some six or seven years ago and Stergo asked to borrow money from him for the first time in 2017. She said the money was required to pay off her lawyer who was refusing to release funds from an injury settlement until she cleared legal dues, NBC reported.

After receiving the money from the victim, Stergo told him the settlement funds were deposited to her fixed-term bank account, which was a lie. Her bank records reportedly showed no such transactions received from an injury settlement.

Stergo continued to lie and acquire money from the old man in her bank accounts over the next four and a half years. The man continued to make the payments out of fear that not doing so would result in Stergo's account being frozen, including the money he lent, which would mean he'd never be paid back.

Stergo had fed the story to the victim, and to further make it believable pretended to be a bank employee using a fake email account, producing fake letters and invoices. The victim was convinced and wrote out 62 checks amounting to over $2.8 million in one of two of his scammer's accounts.

While the victim was left penniless and had to give up his home, Stergo used up all the money acquired by fraudulent ways to live a luxurious life. She purchased a home in a gated community, a condo, a boat, and various cars including a Corvette and a Suburban. She invested in gold coins and bars, expensive watches, fancy meals, and designer clothing from brands like Louis Vuitton and Hermes among other high-end fashion labels.

Stergo is charged with one count of wire fraud and if convicted, could face a maximum of 20 years in prison.

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