(RightWing.org) – A federal judge sentenced a Florida woman to serious prison time after she pulled off a long-term romance scam, bilking a Holocaust survivor out of millions of dollars while she enjoyed a life of luxury. The judge overseeing the case noted the defendant’s “greed” during the sentencing hearing, calling her “unspeakably cruel.”
On July 27, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) issued a press release announcing that District Judge Edgardo Ramos sentenced Peaches Stergo to 51 months in prison and three years of supervised release for her “years-long scheme” to scam an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor out of his entire life savings.
Additionally, the court ordered Stergo to pay restitution totaling more than $2.8 million. Ramos also directed her to forfeit several items in furtherance of that sum of money, including a home she purchased in a gated community and dozens of luxury items, like designer purses, Rolex watches, and large amounts of jewelry and gold.
SDNY US Attorney Damian Williams spoke out after the sentencing hearing. Noting that she defrauded an elderly gentleman “simply looking for companionship,” he said she used the millions of dollars she received to “live a life of luxury at [her] victim’s expense.”
“She did not get away with it,” Williams declared, adding that perpetrators of those kinds of scams will be “held to account for their crimes.”
Court documents showed that Stergo met her unnamed victim on a dating website sometime around 2016. In early 2017, she started asking the man to loan her money to pay an attorney holding up the release of a personal injury settlement. Over the next 54 months, she convinced the victim to turn over his life savings in the form of dozens of checks totaling more than $2.8 million.
Stergo’s case quickly worked its way through the court system. FBI agents arrested her on January 25, and the court unsealed her indictment later that day. On April 14, she pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.
Stergo faced a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison but reached an agreement with prosecutors for a lesser sentence in exchange for her agreement to pay full restitution to her victim.
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