Florida Woman Accused of Defrauding Holocaust Survivor Out of $2.8M in Dating Scheme, DOJ Says
Peaches Stergo, 36, of Champions Gate, Florida, who went by the name “Alice,” has been charged with one count of wire fraud after allegedly fleecing millions from an unnamed Manhattan man between 2017 and 2021, according to the Department of Justice.
A Florida woman has been accused of defrauding an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor out of $2.8 million in a yearslong online dating scheme, according to the Department of Justice.
Peaches Stergo, 36, of Champions Gate, Florida, who went by the name “Alice,” has been charged with one count of wire fraud after allegedly fleecing millions from an unnamed Manhattan man between 2017 and 2021, according to the DOJ.
Stergo met her alleged victim on an online dating website between 2016 and 2017, according to authorities. In the beginning of 2017, Stergo allegedly asked the man if she could borrow money to pay for her lawyer "who she claimed was refusing to release funds from an injury settlement," the DOJ said. But bank records allegedly showed that she never received settlement funds, the department said.
Prosecutors say that Stergo repeatedly demanded that the Holocaust survivor give her money to prevent her accounts from being frozen.
"In May 2017, bank records show the victim wrote his first check to Stergo for $25,000," alleges the indictment, obtained by Inside Edition Digital.
Over the course of time, he wrote 62 checks totaling more than $2.8 million, the Department of Justice said.
"Stergo told the victim that she had settled a lawsuit involving injuries in a car accident but that her lawyer would not release the settlement funds until he received a certain amount of money," the indictment said.
Stergo also used a fake email account and created fake letters and invoices that appeared to be from an employee of TD Bank, according to the Department of Justice.
The indictment says that Stergo would then get the man to write "almost monthly checks" to her, "often in increments of $50,000."
After each check was deposited, Stergo told the victim that her bank "needed more money" or else her account would be frozen, the indictment charges. In no instance was the alleged victim paid back, the indictment said.
The Department of Justice said the man eventually told his son what was happening in 2021 and the money had stopped being sent.
"'Alice,' the defendant, was motivated to engage in the fraud scheme to enrich herself," the indictment alleges. "She has 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," the indictment claims.
Because of how much the man had allegedly given Stergo, the Department of Justice says, “the victim lost his life savings and was forced to give up his apartment.”
Stergo was arrested Wednesday in Florida. She was not granted bail as she awaits extradition to New York, where she will stand trial, according to the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York.
It is unknown as to when she will be sent to New York for trial.
She has not entered a plea and has no legal representation on file, the United States District Court of the Southern District of New York tells Inside Edition Digital.
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