Everything to Know About the True Scams Behind Netflix's Inventing Anna
The true-crime genre has been getting a revamp in recent years, switching out murderers for scammers. The latest con artist making headlines is fake German heiress Anna “Delvey” Sorokin, whose story is the subject of the upcoming Shondaland series based on Jessica Pressler’s New York magazine story. Set to debut on Netflix on Feb. 11, the star-studded series, titled Inventing Anna, recounts how the SoHo grifter finagled her way into NYC socialite circles and eventually received charges of grand larceny. So who is Anna Sorokin? And how did she manage to swindle institutions and friends out of approximately $275,000? Read ahead for this modern-day anti-heroine’s fascinating story of greed and glamor.
Who Was Anna Delvey?
Sorokin stepped foot in New York City in 2013. The con artist swiftly broke her way into socialite circles, telling people she was a German heiress with a multimillion-dollar trust fund. Her father, according to Sorokin, was sometimes an oil baron and, at other times, a solar panel magnate or diplomat. Her acquaintances consisted of people connected to the art world, as well as actual trust fund kids. She lived lavishly, hopping onto private jets, offering to pay expenses for other people, and spending money on expensive clothes. Before getting caught, Sorokin tried to get a $22 million loan to establish a private art club called the Anna Delvey Foundation.
So, Who Did She Scam, and How Did She Do It?
Sorokin swindled banks, private jet operators, and friends. She would forge bad checks, then withdraw money before the checks bounced. She faked documents and convinced bank representatives to let her overdraw. One of her most notorious victims was Rachel Deloache Williams, a former photo editor at Vanity Fair. Sorokin had invited Williams on a trip to Morocco with two other people – a trainer and videographer. With the promise that Sorokin would pay her back, Williams ended up footing the bills for plane tickets, dresses, and, most notably, a $7,000 a night hotel stay. Her total charges by the end of Sorokin’s time in Morocco amounted to $62,000.
How Did Sorokin Get Caught?
Williams grew desperate to get her money back but couldn’t contact her friend. She finally reached out to the Manhattan assistant district attorney, who set up a hearing date for misdemeanor charges against Sorokin. By then, several hotels kicked her out for unpaid fees. Sorokin was eventually arrested on six charges of grand larceny in July 2017 in Malibu, CA, where she had checked into a ritzy rehab center.
What Was Anna Sorokin’s Conviction and Sentence?
In May 2019, the jury reached a verdict and sentence. They ruled her guilty on four counts of theft of services, three counts of grand larceny, and one count of attempted grand larceny. Sorokin received four to 12 years in prison, in addition to a fine of $24,000 and a restitution order to pay $199,000. She was incarcerated at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility before being transferred to Albion Correctional Facility. While Sorokin was briefly released from jail in February 2021, her freedom was short-lived, as she was taken back into custody that March by Immigration and Customs Enforcement for overstaying her visa. According to an October 2021 ABC report, she’s currently being held in ICE custody awaiting deportation to Germany.
Who Really Was Anna Sorokin?
Sorokin was actually born in 1991 in Moscow, moving to Germany at age 16 with her family. Her father worked as a truck driver in a German town, later opening a heating and cooling business. Before her grifting scandals, she had dropped out of college. Supported by her parents, she then worked in public relations briefly, before interning at Purple magazine in Paris. She started calling herself Anna Delvey at that time, and thus, a scammer was born.