Though much about her remains a mystery, Anna Delvey is a name most people recognize.
Of all the known scammers as of late, Delvey — whose real name is Anna Sorokin — is definitely one that ranks high, though perhaps not so much on par as a Billy McFarland, who was behind Fyre Festival, or an Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced biotech entrepreneur behind Theranos.
Still, Sorokin’s schemes, not to mention her apparent luxurious taste, were definitely worth remembering as she posed as a wealthy German heiress with a flair for frequent Instagramming.
Shonda Rhimes’ new Netflix series “Inventing Anna” delves into the story of Sorokin, as well as the people who were adversely affected by her and the journalist who revealed her story to the world.
The series is based on New York Magazine’s story “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People” by Jessica Pressler, who also wrote “The Hustlers at Scores,” which later turned into the 2019 movie “Hustlers,” starring Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu.
Here, WWD breaks down all the details we know about Anna Sorokin so far. Scroll on for more.
Who exactly is Anna Delvey?
Anna Delvey, née Sorokin, was born on Jan. 23, 1991 and is from a small town in Russia called Domodedovo, just an hour outside Moscow. When she was 16, her family moved to Germany.
After graduating high school in 2011, she moved to London to pursue an education at Central Saint Martins, a college well-known for its fashion program. However, she quit and returned home to Germany before relocating to Paris, where she began interning at a fashion magazine, Purple, and started identifying as “Anna Delvey.”
While in New York for New York Fashion Week during the summer of 2013, Sorokin decided she wanted to stay in the city full-time rather than be in Paris as she supposedly found it easier to make friends there. She transferred over to Purple magazine’s New York office.
Currently, Sorokin is not in contact with her family, with her father apparently stating that he has disowned her. When Pressler came into contact with her family, they asked to remain anonymous at the time, as the news had not yet reached their small community at home.
Her father told New York magazine of his daughter’s supposed finances, “Until now, we have never heard of any trust fund.”
What did she do that made her infamous?
After moving to New York City, where she lived from 2013 to 2017, Sorokin began her streak of swindling the rich and well-connected people in its high society.
Posing as a wealthy heiress from Germany, she scammed countless people, hotels and banks with fake bank accounts or credit cards in her efforts to appear much wealthier than she is. For years she managed to get away with not paying her bills for restaurants and hotels properly, providing fraudulent checks or forged wire confirmation slips to show proof of payment when confronted.
By February 2017, she was staying in different hotels, most notably the 11 Howard in SoHo, where she became known among the staff as a generous tipper. She even befriended a concierge there named Neffatari Davis, who was interviewed for Pressler’s story.
After a few months, hotel management noticed that Sorokin did not have a credit card on file, so they asked her to pay her bill, which was up to $30,000. As a result, Sorokin deposited $160,000 worth of checks into a Citibank account, of which she was able to use $70,000, which she wired to 11 Howard to settle the bill. However, Sorokin still refused to provide a valid credit card, which led her to be evicted from the hotel.
During her time in New York City, Sorokin also managed to swindle Michael Xufu Huang, a known Chinese art collector, who paid for her flights and accommodations when they visited the Venice Biennale. She failed to pay him back on multiple occasions, and after he pressed her, he was finally reimbursed via Venmo through an unfamiliar account.
Though of all the scams she has been involved in, perhaps the most well-known is the trip to Morocco.
In May 2017, she invited her friends, one of whom was Rachel DeLoache Williams, a photo editor at Vanity Fair at the time, on an “all-expenses-paid” trip to Marrakesh, Morocco. They stayed at the five-star hotel La Mamounia, where the hotel staff claimed they were unable to charge Sorokin’s cards and asked for another form of payment to settle the $62,000 bill. Sorokin convinced Williams to pay for the bill with the promise that she would pay her back via a wire transfer.
Throughout the remainder of the trip, Williams continued to pay for the group’s outings under the impression Sorokin would pay her back. When they returned, Williams did not receive a wire transfer from Sorokin.
Upon her return to New York City, Sorokin stayed at the Beekman Hotel, again booking without a card on file. After a few weeks, she racked up a bill of more than $11,500, and was eventually also evicted after failing to pay. She then moved to the W New York Union Square, where she was evicted after only two days.
The Beekman and W hotels pressed charges against Sorokin for theft of services. Simultaneously, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office was also independently investigating her for instances of bank fraud.
During her prosecution, it was estimated that Sorokin stole approximately $275,000.
How did she get caught?
While she was living at the Passages Malibu, an addiction treatment facility in Los Angeles, in October 2017, Sorokin was eventually arrested during a sting operation devised by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, with the help of her friend Williams.
(Williams also released a memoir in 2019 called “My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress” recounting her own story of her experience with Sorokin.)
What was her sentencing in court?
Sorokin appeared on trial in April 2019, where, after deliberating for two days, the jury found her guilty of eight charges, including grand larceny in the second degree, attempted grand larceny, and theft of services.
That May, Sorokin received a sentence of four to 12 years in state prison, fined $24,000 and ordered to pay restitution of approximately $199,000.
Where is she now?
Sorokin was released from her prison sentence in February 2021, after serving only two years due to good behavior. However, six weeks later, she was detained by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for overstaying her visa.
Who is in the “Inventing Anna” series?
“Inventing Anna” is written and produced by Shonda Rhimes (who is also the mind behind “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal” and “Bridgerton”). The show stars Julia Garner, who has won two Emmy awards for Netflix’s “Ozark,” Anna Chlumsky, Laverne Cox, Anders Holm and Katie Lowes, among others.
Garner plays the titular character of Anna Delvey.
What does Anna Sorokin think of the series?
Apparently Sorokin is aware of the show and has penned an open letter, which was published by Insider.com, stating that she would not be watching the show, at least “anytime soon.”
“For a long while, I was hoping that by the time ‘Inventing Anna’ came out, I would’ve moved on with my life,” she wrote. “I imagined for the show to be a conclusion of sorts summing up and closing of a long chapter that had come to an end.
“Nearly four years in the making and hours of phone conversations and visits later, the show is based on my story and told from a journalist’s perspective,” the letter continued. “And while I’m curious to see how they interpreted all the research and materials provided, I can’t help but feel like an afterthought, the somber irony of being confined to a cell at yet another horrid correctional facility lost between the lines, the history repeating itself.”
Netflix reportedly paid Sorokin $320,000 for the rights to tell her story for the series. She used $199,000 of the money she received to pay restitution to the banks she owes, plus another $24,000 to settle state fines.
What will happen to Anna Sorokin?
It is still unclear what will happen to Sorokin now that she’s been detained by ICE. As of April 2021, she is in a New Jersey county jail and still in ICE custody as of September 2021, awaiting the decision of whether she’ll be deported back to Germany, where she is a citizen.
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