A Holocaust Survivor Caught In An Online Dating Romance, And Got Scammed $2.8 Million


When love is in the air, a person madly in love would do pretty much anything for their loved one.

But an 87-year-old man was late to realize that he shouldn't take love for granted.

He learned it the hard way, when Peaches Stergo scammed him out of $2.8 million, federal prosecutors said.

Stergo met the unfortunate old man on a dating website, and managed to lure him.

She told him that she was purportedly awarded money in a lawsuit settlement after she was injured in a car accident, but her lawyer refused to release the funds from the injury settlement until she pay him.

The man, believing Stergo was telling the truth, wrote her a $25,000 check.

Peaches Stergo
Peaches Stergo

After the man gave her the money, Stergo said the settlement funds had been deposited into her TD Bank account, while in reality, bank records show Stergo never received any money from an injury settlement.

Realizing that the man got scammed pretty easily, and didn't care much at first, Stergo continued her malicious attempts.

Stergo made use of the man, who was already in love with him, to "borrow" even more and more money.

Stergo ged the man with more and more lies, convincing him to send her checks almost every month that were typically $50,000 each, prosecutors said.

With money at hand, Stergo then went on a shopping spree.

Among others, she spent it on expensive and lavish trips, and staying at places like the Ritz Carlton.

She also spent tens of thousands of dollars on expensive meals, gold coins and bars, jewelry, Rolex watches and designer clothing from brands like Tiffany, Ralph Lauren, Neiman Marcus, Louis Vuitton and Hermes, according to prosecutors and the FBI.

She continued by purchasing a house, a condominium, a boat and numerous cars, including a Corvette and a Chevy Suburban.

To ensure that the "sugar daddy" kept sending her the money, the 36-year-old woman from Florida repeatedly told her New York-based that if he did not deposit anymore money, her accounts would be frozen and that he would never be paid back.

In total, the victim wrote 62 checks - totaling more than $2.8 million.

This happened for four long years, until the man ran out of money.

It was in October 2021, when the man stopped sending Stergo money.

While the man had to move from his old home in New York due to not having anymore money, it was actually his son who managed to tell him that he was getting scammed.

While the victim lost most of his life savings and was forced to give up his apartment, prosecutors said Stergo lived a life of luxury with the millions she received from the fraud.

In the end, Stergo has been arrested in what officials called a “romance” scam, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

Stergo is accused of lying to the man, who believed her name was "Alice."

"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," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.

"Today we allege the defendant callously preyed on a senior citizen simply seeking companionship, defrauding him of his life savings," the FBI's Mike Driscoll said in a statement.

Peaches Stergo scam

The government wants Stergo to forfeit the property and everything she bought with the man’s money, the indictment said.

If convicted on the wire fraud charge, she could be sentenced up to 20 years in prison, according to officials.

Stergo "callously preyed on a senior citizen simply seeking companionship, defrauding him of his life savings," FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said in a statement.

As for the man, prosecutors didn’t provide further details on his real name or background in regards to surviving the Holocaust, which was the genocide of European Jews carried out by Nazi Germany during World War II.

At that time, six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust between 1933 and 1945.