On Wednesday, January 25th, a Florida woman was arrested for allegedly defrauding an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor, The Guardian reported. “Today, we allege the defendant callously preyed on a senior citizen simply seeking companionship, defrauding him of his life savings,” said FBI assistant director Michael J Driscoll on the day of the arrest.
The accused, Peaches Stergo, met the victim on a dating website in 2014, posing as a woman named “Alice Watson.” In 2017, the 38-year-old told the unnamed elderly man that she had won a lawsuit from a car accident she was in, and needed money to pay her lawyer in order to receive the settlement funds. Despite her never being a part of a suit, he wrote her a check of $25,000. Later, she told the victim that if she wasn’t given more money, the bank would freeze her account and prevent her from paying him back. She even disguised her voice to pose as a bank employee to facilitate the ruse.
Within five years, Stergo received 62 checks totaling $2.8 million. The accused reportedly used the money to pay for several homes, cars, designer clothing, international trips, name brand clothing, jewelry, and gold and silver bars. While she and her husband were embracing a luxurious lifestyle, her victim lost his life savings and was forced to move out of his Manhattan home.
Peaches Stergo has since been charged with one count of wire fraud. If convicted, she could face up to 20 years in prison.