36-year-old Floridian resident Peaches Stergo was sentenced to 51 months in jail after she defrauded an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor of $2.8 million USD (approximately 10,368,680.00 NIS.)
Stergo pled guilty to one count of wire fraud in April, according to the BBC.
On top of the prison sentence, US District Judge Edgardo Ramos ordered Stergo to repay the victim $2.83 million USD in restitution.
As the Jerusalem Post previously reported, Stergo met the 87-year-old man on a dating website between 2016 and 2017. In early 2017, Stergo asked the victim to borrow money to pay her lawyer, who she claimed was refusing to release funds from an injury settlement – a lie, according to bank records that allegedly showed she never received settlement funds.
In total, she received 62 cheques from the survivor which she used to purchase a house and numerous vacations.
In text messages, Stergo mocked her victim with her romantic partner, according to the BBC. She allegedly felt remorse for her actions but wrote in a text "I don't want to work . . . it's too hard."
Stergo's lawyer told US media that she had "expressed remorse for her actions and will make every effort to repay the restitution in this case.” Her lawyers had attempted to blame Stergo’s actions on her childhood trauma.
Official reactions to Stergo's crime
“The defendant callously preyed on a senior citizen simply seeking companionship, defrauding him of his life savings,” FBI Assistant Director Michael J. Driscoll said in the DOJ indictment at the time of the report. The sentiment was later shared by Judge Ramos who said the scam was "unspeakably cruel".
“As alleged, for years, 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,” US Attorney Damian Williams said also said at the time of Post’s initial report.