Florida Woman Scams $2.8 Million From Holocaust Survivor

Peaches “April” Stergo, 36, of Champions Gate, has been arrested and charged with wire fraud by the Middle District of Florida after scamming an 87-year-old holocaust survivor out of $2.8 million in a “romance scam.”

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According to the federal indictment, the pair met on a dating website six or seven years ago. Peaches started her scam in 2017 when she told the victim that she had settled a lawsuit involving injuries she suffered in a car accident. Still, her lawyer needed to receive money to release her settlement funds.

Peaches Stergo

“Stergo asked the victim if she could borrow from him to pay the lawyer. In May 2017, bank records show the victim wrote his first check to Stergo for $25,000.”

After that $25,000 payment, Stergo told the victim that her settlement money had been put into an account at TD Bank, only there was no settlement, and the money requests kept coming.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said that Stergo’s “maliciously” drained the elderly survivor’s life savings to 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.”

“The victim wrote checks almost every month, many of which were in amounts of $50,000,” the indictment says. Stergo repeatedly told the victim that her bank needed more money. Otherwise, the accounts would be frozen, and he would never be paid back.

He continued to write checks as he was afraid he would never see his money again. At the time of her arrest, her victim wrote 62 checks for over $2.8 million.

Prosecutors say that to pull off her alleged scam, Stergo falsified documents, created a fake email account, and impersonated a TD Bank employee.

Prosecutors stated that the scam ended in October 2021, when the victim told his son that “over time, he had given his life savings” to Stergo. The victim’s son told his father he had been scammed and to stop writing checks to Stergo.

Peaches was living the high life on the victim’s money.

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“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,” the indictment says. “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.”

Prosecutors in the Southern District of New York want Stergo to forfeit all monies and all luxury items purchased. She will be transferred to the federal court in New York City. She could face 20 years in federal prison if convicted of wire fraud.

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