A Florida woman drained an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor’s life savings by posing as a love interest and then lived lavishly off the 2.8 million dollars (£2.2 million) she got.

Peaches Stergo, 36, of Champions Gate, was described by judge Edgardo Ramos as “unspeakably cruel” and motivated by greed as he jailed her for more than four years.

Given a chance to speak, she said: “I’m sorry.”

Stergo pleaded guilty to wire fraud, admitting she targeted the man after meeting him on a dating website seven years ago.

She began asking the once successful businessman for money in May 2017, claiming she needed money to pay a lawyer refusing to release the payout from a bogus injury settlement, prosecutors said.

He paid her 25,000 dollars (£19,541).

Over the next four years, she used lies to coax the man to write 62 cheques totalling more than 2.8 million dollars (£2.2 million) until he ran out of money, prosecutors added.

She got him to send as much as 50,000 dollars (£39,082) at a time as she told desperate lies and faked letters from a bank employee to back up her claims, the court was told.

Prosecutors said Stergo travelled to New York to visit her victim in his Manhattan apartment, falsely claiming she was a Florida nanny and her name was Alice and failing to reveal she was in a long-term relationship with another man and had two children.

As the victim lost his life savings and was forced to give up his apartment, Stergo used his money to live a life of luxury, travelling on expensive trips to Europe and Las Vegas when she was not living in her gated community or using her boat and numerous cars, including a Corvette and a Suburban, prosecutors said.

They said she spent nearly all of the man’s money, including thousands of dollars on expensive meals, gold coins and bars, jewellery, Rolex watches and designer clothing.

As part of her sentence, she faces a restitution and forfeiture order.

“Peaches Stergo callously defrauded an 87-year-old Holocaust survivor who was simply looking for companionship,” US attorney Damian Williams said in a statement.

“But she did not get away with it. As today’s sentence demonstrates, perpetrators of romance scams will be held to account for their crimes.”

Prosecutors said Stergo mocked her victim when she told her real lover in a message the victim said he “loved” her.

They said she followed that message with “lol”.

And they said that when he ran out of money, she convinced him to sell his inventory of diamonds and borrow from others.

Prosecutors did not identify the victim but they said he suffers from cognitive decline, among other health issues, and is frail.

In a letter to the judge, the victim, who was six when he lost his parents in the Holocaust and in his early 20s when he moved to the United States, wrote: “As a Holocaust survivor, I have endured unspeakable pain and loss in my life, but never did I imagine that I would be subjected to such a heartless betrayal in my old age.”

Stergo’s lawyer, Ann Marie Fitz, wrote in a sentencing submission that Stergo is a partner to her long-time boyfriend and mother to two teenage boys and that her boyfriend describes her as a great mother and a born-again Christian.

“She is not the cold-hearted person the government and media have made her out to be,” the lawyer wrote.

“There was a genuine, caring relationship that Ms Stergo had with the victim in this case — she spent holidays with him, she took care of him when he was ill and, as the victim’s cousin described, she was ‘doting’ on him.”