Swindler pleads guilty to scamming Holocaust survivor for millions

Peaches Stergo defrauded the 87-year-old man she met on a dating site to finance her lavish lifestyle and purchase, home, yacht, jewels and more while he is forced to sell his home; she now faces up to 20 years in jail
Daniel Edelson/New York|
After scamming a Holocaust survivor out of 2.8 million dollars, a Florida woman finally owns up in a New York court.
<< Follow Ynetnews on Facebook and Twitter >>
Peaches Stergo, 36 pled guilty to charges of defrauding an 87-year-old man she had met on a dating site who financed her lavish lifestyle by staying at 5-star hotels, purchasing brand names, cars, jewels and expensive watches, and even a luxury yacht, while her victim was forced to sell his apartment to pay for his virtual lover.
After convincing him to send her his first cheque with the promise that she would pay him back, her demands for more money kept coming, often saying she must pay for what had already been purchased. When the elderly gentleman became suspicious, Stergo forged bank documents and emails to show she was being truthful about her claims.
2 View gallery
Peaches Stergo
Peaches Stergo
Peaches Stergo
(Photo: U.S. Justice Department )
She created a fictitious e-mail account pretending to be a bank official to promise the victim that his money would be returned if he only continued to deposit huge amounts into her account.
The scam was discovered only last year when the man admitted to his son that Stargo had been given his life savings in exchange for promises that the funds would be returned.
By then after he had lost his home, Stargo lived lavishly in Florida on his millions. She purchased a home in a gated community, a boat and numerous cars and vacationed in expensive hotels such as the Ritz Carlton.
She enjoyed Michelin Star meals costing tens of thousands of dollars, had purchased gold coins and jewels, Rolex watches and designer clothes at retailers such as Tiffany's, Neiman Marcus, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton and Hermès.
2 View gallery
סניף לואי ויטון בקניון רמת אביב
סניף לואי ויטון בקניון רמת אביב
Louis Vuitton boutique
(צילום: יריב כץ)
After admitting her crimes Stergo could face up to 20 years behind bars and will have to return over 2.83 million dollars in compensation along with over 100 luxury items purchased with the scammed funds.
The romantic scam was just part of a growing trend of online fraudsters using dating sites. Some were documented in popular television shows such as The Tinder Swindler on Netflix, which recounted the escapades of Israeli Shimon Hayut who presented himself as a member of the wealthy Leviev family and scammed vast amounts from women he met online.
The American Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said losses from romantic scams have reached a peak sum of over half a billion dollars in 2021, six times more than in 2017. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) recently issued a warning to elder Americans they say are targeted more than any other age group in the population.
The commenter agrees to the privacy policy of Ynet News and agrees not to submit comments that violate the terms of use, including incitement, libel and expressions that exceed the accepted norms of freedom of speech.