Anna Sorokin

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Anna Sorokin
Native name
Анна Вадимовна Сорокина
Born
Anna Vadimovna Sorokina[1]

(1991-01-23) January 23, 1991 (age 28)
Other namesAnna Delvey
Home townEschweiler, Aachen
North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany
Criminal chargegrand larceny, second-degree larceny, theft of services[2][3]
Criminal penalty4 to 12 years imprisonment

Anna Vadimovna Sorokina (Russian: Анна Вадимовна Сорокина;[1] born January 23, 1991)[4] also known as Anna Sorokin, is a Russian-born fraudster. She moved to New York City in 2013 and created the fictitious identity of Anna Delvey, pretending to be a wealthy German heiress. In 2019, she was convicted of multiple counts of attempted grand larceny, theft of services, and larceny in the second degree for scamming New York hotels and wealthy acquaintances. Sorokin is incarcerated at Albion Correctional Facility.

Early life and education[edit]

Domodedovo, where Sorokin was born and lived until age 16

Anna Sorokin was born in Domodedovo,[1] a working-class satellite town southeast of Moscow,[5] in 1991. She was one of two children in the family.[1] Her father, Vadim Sorokin, worked as a truck driver, while her mother owned a small convenience store before becoming a housewife.[1] The family moved to Cologne, Germany, in 2007, when Anna was 16.[5] She attended the gymnasium in Eschweiler and was described by classmates as a quiet girl who had a difficult time with the German language.

Anna graduated from high school in 2011 and moved to London to attend the Central Saint Martins art school, but did not finish and returned to Germany.[6] She worked as an intern at a public relations firm before moving to Paris to perform an internship for the French fashion magazine Purple. At that time she started calling herself Anna Delvey.[6]

Time as a fake heiress[edit]

After moving to New York City in 2013, Sorokin told new friends and acquaintances that she had a €60 million trust fund that was held in overseas banks and would cover her lavish hotel stays and lifestyle.[7] The story about how her family had acquired the money changed multiple times, and included having a father who was a diplomat, an oil executive, or solar panel magnate.[8] Many who knew her as an heiress were told about her attempts to set up an art foundation that was funded by a family trust, and her plan to lease the historic Church Missions House as a multi-purpose studio and events space.[9] Sorokin became known for staying in trendy hotels, eating at James Beard Award-winning restaurants, and regularly visiting spas and salons.[9]

Sorokin would get her friends and traveling companions to pay large amounts – if not the entire amount – for the trips that they took together, claiming that she had checked her wallet with her luggage or guilting the friends into covering the cost when her credit card would be declined.[10] Many others didn't see the red flags when they were asked to pay for things, as Sorokin would claim that she had difficulty moving her assets from overseas, and would laugh it off as forgetfulness when they would have to hound her to pay them back.[8]

Arrest[edit]

In 2017, Sorokin was arrested on six charges of grand larceny for allegedly scamming wealthy New York City business acquaintances and several hotels.[11][12] According to the Manhattan District Attorney's office, the thefts totalled approximately $275,000.[13]

Sorokin initially faced three counts of misdemeanor theft of services due to complaints regarding stays at the Beekman Hotel and the W Downtown as well as a meal at the Parker Méridien hotel in New York.[14]

Trial[edit]

On December 18, 2018, Sorokin appeared in New York City Criminal Court and rejected a plea deal that would have her released from jail and deported back to Germany in early 2019. Sorokin decided to go to trial and a March 20, 2019 date was initially set by Judge Diane Kiesel.[15] Jury selection began during the week of March 17. On April 25, 2019, a jury found Sorokin guilty of second-degree larceny, theft of services and one count of first-degree attempted grand larceny.[2] Sorokin was not found guilty in another charge of attempted grand larceny in the first degree for an attempted $22 million loan she tried to procure and a charge of theft of $60,000 for a Morocco trip.[2] ICE has confirmed that she will be deported at some point due to her visa waiver overstay.[16]

During the trial the prosecutor said Sorokin seemed to "revel at the plight of her victims" and that she "showed more concern for her attire than the emotions of those she hurt."[17] Her defense attorney attempted to humanize her, claiming that she had been buying time to pay back all the debt, and attempted to portray her as an entrepreneur and even compared her to Frank Sinatra claiming they both created their own opportunities in New York.[7]

Sentence[edit]

On May 9, 2019, Sorokin was given a sentence of 4 to 12 years in state prison, fined $24,000, and ordered to pay restitution of about $199,000; she may also face deportation to Germany.[18][19]

Sorokin was incarcerated at Rikers Island during the trial, but is currently incarcerated at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility as of May 15, 2019. She has been repeatedly disciplined for breaking prison rules.[20]

Reactions to her conviction[edit]

Writing for The New York Times, Ginia Bellafante argued that Sorokin's prosecution and conviction is an example of women being punished more harshly for white-collar crimes than men.[3] She compared the prosecution of Sorokin to the conviction of Bridget Anne Kelly in the Fort Lee lane closure scandal, highlighting that Kelly received a far higher sentence than David Wildstein who came up with the plan to close the bridge in the first place.[3] Bellafante also criticized New York County District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. for being biased against women by celebrating Sorokin's conviction on Twitter when in the past he has declined to prosecute men accused of far more serious crimes, including Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Harvey Weinstein.[3]

Popular culture representation[edit]

In 2018, New York magazine published a profile about her life, business dealings, and arrest.[6] Shonda Rhimes acquired the rights to the New York profile and is developing a Netflix series based on it.[21] Lena Dunham is working on a separate project about Sorokin for HBO, based on the account of Rachel DeLoache Williams, a witness in the trial and former photo editor at Vanity Fair.[22]

A book authored by Williams, entitled My Friend Anna, was published in July 2019 by Gallery Books (an imprint of Simon & Schuster), as well as by Quercus in the UK and Goldmann in Germany, and goes in depth about the time that Williams spent in connection with Sorokin.[23] Sorokin herself is also writing books about the time spent as a fake heiress, and told reporters that she is planning two memoirs: one to span the time that she spent in New York and one about the time she spent in Rikers.[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Лялин, Роман (April 11, 2019). "Дочь дальнобойщика обманула банки и бизнесменов в США на 17 миллионов рублей" [Trucker's daughter stole 17 million rubles from banks and businessmen in the United States]. Комсомо́льская пра́вда (in Russian). Retrieved July 15, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c Palmer, Emily; Ransom, Jan (April 25, 2019). "'Anna Delvey,' Fake Heiress Who Swindled N.Y.'s Elite, Is Found Guilty". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 26, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d Bellafante, Ginia (May 3, 2019). "Are Women Taking the Cosmic Fall for Male Greed?". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved May 5, 2019.
  4. ^ "Official Press Release from the DA". annadelveyfoundation.org. Retrieved February 18, 2019.
  5. ^ a b Ranosa, Ted (April 28, 2019). "Fake German Heiress Anna Sorokin Convicted of Fraud After Fooling Banks and Scamming New York's Elite". Tech Times. Retrieved April 29, 2019.
  6. ^ a b c Pressler, Jessica (May 28, 2018). "Maybe She Had So Much Money She Just Lost Track of It". The Cut (New York (magazine)). New York Media, LLC. Retrieved July 23, 2018.
  7. ^ a b "NY jury hears conflicting portrayals of fake German heiress Anna Sorokin". North Jersey. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  8. ^ a b Kotinsky, Dave (March 27, 2019). "A fake heiress bilked NYC socialites for years. Then the elaborate hoax unraveled". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  9. ^ a b Williams, Rachel DeLoache. ""She Paid for Everything": How a Fake Heiress Made My $62,000 Disappear". The Hive. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  10. ^ Rosenberg, Rebecca (April 18, 2019). "There were benefits being duped by fake heiress Anna Sorokin: lawyer". New York Post. Retrieved May 14, 2019.
  11. ^ Williams, Rachel DeLoache (April 13, 2018). ""She Paid for Everything": How a Fake Heiress Made My $62,000 Disappear". Vanity Fair. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  12. ^ Brown, Ruth (May 29, 2018). "Wannabe socialite claims Rikers isn't that bad". New York Post. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  13. ^ "DA Vance Announces Indictment of Repeat Scammer for Multiple Thefts Totaling $275,000". Manhattan District Attorney's Office. October 26, 2017. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
  14. ^ Rosenberg, Rebecca (July 31, 2017). "Wannabe socialite busted for skipping out on pricey hotel bills". New York Post. Retrieved June 6, 2018.
  15. ^ Goldberg, Noah (December 18, 2018). "Accused socialite con artist rejects plea, heads to trial". New York Daily News. Retrieved December 19, 2018.
  16. ^ Matthews, David (March 23, 2019). "Socialite scammer Anna Delvey will get deported back to Germany if she isn't convicted". New York Daily News. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
  17. ^ "Con artist who passed herself off as wealthy heiress sentenced to 4 to 12 years in prison". www.cbsnews.com.
  18. ^ Ransom, Jan (May 9, 2019). "'Anna Delvey,' Fake Heiress Who Swindled N.Y.'s Elite, Is Sentenced to 4 to 12 Years in Prison". New York Times. Retrieved May 9, 2019.
  19. ^ Staff, Writer (May 9, 2019). "Anna Sorokin: Fake heiress apologises as she is sentenced". BBC News. Archived from the original on May 10, 2019. Retrieved May 10, 2019.
  20. ^ INSIDER, Kieran Corcoran. "Fake heiress Anna Delvey said 'I'm not sorry' in a wild jailhouse interview, and has apparently been getting into fights on Rikers Island". Business Insider.
  21. ^ Otterson, Debra Birnbaum, Joe (June 8, 2018). "Shonda Rhimes Sets Anna Delvey Series as First Netflix Project". Variety. Retrieved June 15, 2018.
  22. ^ Petski, Denise;Andreeva, Nellie (August 21, 2019). "Lena Dunham Launches Production Company Under HBO Deal". Deadline. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
  23. ^ Dawson, Mackenzie (July 27, 2019). "Dishy New Memoir Exposes 'Fake Heiress' Anna Sorokin". New York Post. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  24. ^ Italiano, Laura (May 10, 2019). "Fake heiress Anna Sorokin: I'd be lying if I said I was sorry". New York Post. Retrieved May 14, 2019.