Indian River County Woman Pleads Guilty To Wire Fraud For Her Role In Romance Scam
The world changes more quickly than the names of laws do. For example, you can be charged with wire fraud if there is evidence that you knowingly made false statements for your own financial gain, and the medium of communication through which you made those statements could, in theory, be attached to a wire. Most fraud crimes are charged either as mail fraud, which involves false statements on written documents conveyed by postal mail, or wire fraud, which involves communication through almost any other device. Today’s law school professors remember a time when phones and computers could only function when attached to wires. Today, you can still be charged with wire fraud even if you allegedly made false statements by sending text messages or email on a wireless device or conversing on a cell phone. If you are being accused of using a mobile device to defraud someone out of money, contact a West Palm Beach white collar crime lawyer.
Is It Wire Fraud If You Use a Wireless Device?
Peaches Stergo of Champions Gate pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, admitting that she made false statements to persuade an elderly man out of more than $3 million over the course of their seven-year relationship. Stergo met the man, a Holocaust survivor who lives in New York, on a dating site in early 2017 when she was in her early 30s and he was in his early 80s. She told him that she was experiencing financial hardship because a personal injury lawsuit in which she was a plaintiff had recently settled, but that her lawyer was refusing to transfer the settlement money to her. The man transferred $50,000 to Stergo, and he continued to transfer similar amounts to her every month over the course of several years. The purchases she made include a house in a gated community in Florida, as well as travel and meals in expensive restaurants.
Eventually, the man was forced to sell his condominium to continue making payments to Stergo. The criminal investigation began after the man told his son that he had transferred most of his wealth to Stergo. A sentencing hearing has been set for Stergo, now 36, in July. The court proceedings took place in a federal court in New York. The maximum sentence for wire fraud is 20 years in prison. It is unlikely that the court will sentence her to 20 years, since she pleaded guilty and complied with the court order to forfeit money and assets associated with the crime. The court also ordered Stergo to pay more than $2.8 million in restitution and to forfeit 100 items of merchandise she had bought with money the man sent her.
Contact a West Palm Beach Criminal Defense Lawyer Today
Attorney William Wallshein has more than 39 years of experience, including five years as a prosecutor in Palm Beach County. Contact William Wallshein P.A. in West Palm Beach, Florida to discuss your case.