- A Florida woman was accused of scamming millions from a Holocaust survivor, per DOJ.
- Peaches Stergo, 36, is facing one count of wire fraud, per the DOJ.
- Prosecutors said Stergo also pretended to be a TD Bank employee to trick the victim into sending her more money.
A Florida woman on Wednesday was arrested in connection to scamming an elderly Holocaust survivor out of millions, and then using the money to buy luxury items, the Justice Department said Wednesday.
Peaches Stergo, 36, was charged with one count of wire fraud for the alleged crime against the 87-year-old unidentified victim after flushing him out of his life savings — nearly $3 million — between 2017 and 2021, prosecutors said.
Stergo first met the victim through an online dating website in 2017. During their interaction, she asked the man for money, claiming that she needed the funds to pay an attorney who was withholding an injury settlement from a car accident, according to the federal indictment.
Officials said the claim was not true, however, when she received $25,000 from the victim, she told him that the settlement money was inserted into her bank account.
For years, according to prosecutors, Stergo allegedly conned the victim out of money telling him that if he didn’t do so, her bank account will be frozen, which would prevent her to be able to pay him back. Throughout that time the victim was sending Stergo monthly checks, about 62 in total, that were deposited into her accounts, the indictment stated.
Collectively, the victim gave Stergo more than $2.8 million, according to the indictment. In addition, prosecutors said that she pretended to be a TD bank employee by creating a fake email address and sending fraudulent letters to communicate with the victim.
With the cash, Stergo splurged on luxury items including high-end designer clothing and expensive watches, the DOJ said. In addition, she went on extravagant trips, ate at fancy restaurants, and stayed in 5-star hotels.
“She bought a home in a gated community, a condominium, a boat, and numerous cars, including a Corvette and a Suburban,” according to the DOJ.
When the victim told his son about the situation, he learned that he was getting scammed and stopped ending Stergo checks, per the indictment, however, he was eventually instructed to move out of his apartment.
According to the DOJ, Stergo is facing two decades in prison.
It was not clear if Stergo has obtained an attorney; a representative for TD Bank did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.