Anna Delvey was the unofficial breakout star of the summer of the scam. The Russian-born Anna Sorokin masqueraded as a wealthy German socialite, hobnobbing on private jets and dropping thousands of dollars a night at New York's hottest restaurants.
But behind the scenes, it all appears to have been an elaborate scam - Delvey was reportedly promising fake wire transfers, taking out massive loans, and forcing her friends to cover her enormous bills.
After pleading not guilty to grand larceny, Delvey/Sorokin appeared in court for the start of her trial in New York in late March. A grand jury found Sorokin guilty of four counts of theft of services, three counts of grand larceny and one count of attempted grand larceny. She was acquitted of one count of grand larceny and one count of attempted grand larceny.
She has now been sentenced to four to 12 years in prison in a New York court. "I apologize for the mistakes I made,” she said at the sentencing, according to The New York Times.
A representative for the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) previously confirmed that Anna Delvey would be deported after the trial. Delvey, a German national, is said to have entered under a Visa Waiver Program but overstayed its 90 day timeframe.
The Soho scammer has been busy even while going through criminal proceedings - she inked a deal with Netflix, who purchased the rights to her story.
Who is Anna 'Delvey' Sorokin?
Anna Delvey, real name Anna Sorokin, was born in Russia in 1991, moving to Germany in 2007 with her family. Her father was a truck driver and she did not (as she would later claim) have a trust fund.
After school Delvey briefly attended Central Saint Martins College in London before dropping out and moving back to Berlin. She then moved to Paris, interned at Purple magazine, and changed her name to Anna Delvey. But it was 2016 when she moved to New York that her full-scale fraud began. Delvey claimed she had moved to the city to open the Anna Delvey Foundation, which was meant to be a "dynamic visual arts center," complete with pop-up shops, art, restaurants, a bakery, and a juice bar, based on the Soho House model.
Delvey wasn't the only one who claimed to be launching the "next" Soho House. Before his Fyre Fest scandal made him famous (and also put him in jail), Billy McFarland positioned his Magnises clubhouse as the "new Soho House." Incidentally, this is where two scammers crossed paths, as Delvey actually spent time living in the Magnises clubhouse - more on that later.
Delvey told people she was from Cologne, even though by all accounts her German wasn’t particularly good. She famously hosted dinner parties with guests including Macaulay Culkin and Martin Shkreli. She was always seen decked out in designer brands including Balenciaga, Celine, and Supreme.
Delvey reportedly dished out $100 tips, had Blade charter her a $35k jet and racked up bills of thousands at the city’s chicest downtown hotels. She also went on a shopping spree with $55k, which she spent at Apple and Net-a-Porter.
But the trail of crimes would eventually catch up with her. Delvey is currently in prison on Rikers Island. She rejected a plea deal that would let her get out of prison early if she returned to Germany.
Why has she been named the 'fake heiress'?
Much like Williamsburg's "hipster grifter" before her, Delvey was given the title after reportedly tricking Soho into thinking she was a wealthy trust fund baby. She stayed at local hotels, like 11 Howard, where she told people about her foundation plans.
How did Sorokin commit fraud in New York?
Delvey notoriously paid in cash, whether it was for her room at 11 Howard or elaborate dinners in, of course, Soho - and she spent a lot of it. But slowly, the facade began to develop cracks - she’d call a friend and ask them to pay for her taxi or sleep on someone’s couch for weeks at a time.
She supposedly planned to turn 281 Park Avenue South into her own members' club and attempted to take out a $22 million loan, after claiming she had €60 million in Swiss accounts.
At first, City National Bank turned her down, but eventually, she received a $100,000 loan from them.
Eventually, her credit card was turned down for relatively minor transactions. She couldn’t afford a $286 dinner at celebrity hot spot Sant Ambroeus (also of McFarland's favorites), and her friend was forced to pick up the bill (she paid her back three times the amount). 11 Howard realized it didn’t have a credit card on file for her - until that point, they had been accepting wire transfers. But the wire transfers stopped arriving and she owed them $30,000 for charges, including multiple meals at Le Coucou that she’d billed to her hotel room.
She moved over to the Beekman Hotel, where she racked up an $11,519.59 bill until the hotel realized they didn’t have a credit card on file for her. She then ventured to the W Hotel downtown for two days before they kicked her out. The Beekman and The W filed charges against Delvey for theft of services.
Delvey deposited $160,000 worth of checks and withdrew $70,000 before they were returned unhonored, which she used to pay 11 Howard. She was also reportedly caught trying to dine and dash at Le Parker Meridien in Midtown.
When Delvey's payments didn't come through, she apparently claimed it was an unsuccessful wire transfer from her trust fund. She even made up a financial advisor, Peter W. Hennecke, who would correspond on her behalf and helped her get massive loans from banks. When they looked into Hennecke, his number was a burner phone bought at a supermarket and his email address was an AOL account.
Delvey was eventually arrested in California - she was hiding out in the popular Malibu treatment center Passages. Even her choice of rehab was expensive - Marc Jacobs and Mel Gibson both spent time there.
She was then indicted on grand larceny charges and is now facing 15 years in prison. But it would seem Delvey's spirit hasn't been crushed - she's still sharing photos from prison, Snapchat selfies included.
Anna Delvey was arrested last year in October 2017 and has been held in Rikers Island ever since. She appeared in court on February 25 before Judge Diane Kiesel, who agreed for jury selection to begin on March 20. According to Business Insider, two members of the German consulate were present and prosecutor Catherine McCaw announced that she would be bringing in between 20-25 witnesses to provide testimony.
Todd Spodek, Delvey's attorney, told Business Insider, “She’s doing alright. Anna’s holding up OK. She’s in the all-women facility. She’s not shy.”
An official with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) told INSIDER that they would be seeking to deport Delvey. Spokesperson Rachel Yong Yow said, "ICE is requesting that we be notified prior to her release from local custody so she can be taken into ICE custody. Regardless of whether or not she is convicted, she is amenable for removal because she is a visa waiver overstay. If she is convicted, she is sentenced to serve her time in the US."
Anna Delvey was indicted with various grand larceny and theft charges and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office claimed she had stolen “$275,000 through multiple scams between November 2016 and 2017”.
Now she has been found guilty, Delvey is likely to be deported.
What did Rachel Williams write about Sorokin in Vanity Fair?
Reports of Sorokin's bad behavior first surfaced in an April 2018 Vanity Fair article written by one of her former friends, Rachel Williams, who used to be a photo editor for the magazine. "She walked into my life in Gucci sandals and Céline glasses, and showed me a glamorous, frictionless world of hotel living and Le Coucou dinners and infrared saunas and Moroccan vacations. And then she made my $62,000 disappear," Williams wrote.
Delvey befriended the VF photo editor in early 2016, after meeting her at the downtown nightclub Happy Ending.
Delvey took Williams to Morocco, along with her personal trainer and a photographer to document their adventures. There, they stayed at five-star resort La Mamounia in a $7k a night villa, complete with three bedrooms, a courtyard, and a pool.
When Delvey couldn't pay the $62,000 bill, Williams did - making her the alleged victim of grand larceny in the second degree by deception. It was more than she made in a year.
Testifying during the trial, Williams said, “This is the most traumatic thing I’ve ever been through" before breaking down in tears.
“I wish I had never met Anna. If I could go back in time and not be where I am today, you bet I would,” she said.
Did Anna Delvey scam Billy McFarland?
The two scammers didn’t only cross paths at Sant Ambroeus.
According to Page Six, Delvey squatted rent-free at McFarland’s Magnises townhouse for four months. She only asked to stay for a few days but then wouldn’t leave, in typical Delvey fashion.
“She had Balenciaga bags and clothes everywhere. The company wound up moving into a townhouse. That’s the only way they got her out! She had been there for four months!" a source told Page Six.
She also attended parties at the townhouse - it’s only unfortunate she didn’t make it to Fyre Fest.
When is the Anna Delvey Netflix series released?
The summer of the scam lives on - on Netflix, at least. First, the Fyre Festival documentary was released. Now, Netflix is planning an Anna Delvey series with Shonda Rhimes based on The Cut's deep dive into the Soho scammer. The project is part of the Grey's Anatomy creator and Netflix’s $100 million deal for new content.
“She seems more concerned about who is going to play her in the movie than what she’s done to the people she allegedly took advantage of,” Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Diane Kiesel said.
Delvey apparently asked if Jennifer Lawrence or Margot Robbie could play her in the Netflix series.
And like the warring Fyre Festival films (both Hulu and Netflix released their own versions of the story in the same week), there are going to be feuding Delvey productions.
Lena Dunham is also adapting Vanity Fair's Rachel Williams essay into an HBO series - which she announced in a profile for The Cut.