Inventing Anna: Who is Anna Delvey? The fake German heiress who defrauded the New York elite | Ents & Arts News
When Anna Sorokin went on trial in New York in the spring of 2019, charged with fraud after defrauding hotels, banks and other members of Manhattan’s elite out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, she reportedly used the services from a stylist to make sure she looked the part. .
For years, Sorokin was known as Anna Delvey, a wealthy German heiress who loves expensive wine, private jets and designer clothes. She had become a social media sensation; even during her court hearing, an Instagram account documented her outfits — a mix of designer and high street, and still her signature thick-rimmed glasses — throughout.
Despite her conviction, the glamorous Manhattan socialite persona she had invented for herself apparently never faded. Prosecutors say Sorokin robbed others while claiming she had a fortune of 60million euros (around £51million) – working her way into the upper echelons of society through multiple acts of scam in 2016 and 2017, funding a life she should never have been able to afford.
Sentenced to 4 to 12 years in prison, given the time served after her arrest in 2017, she was released for good behavior in February 2021. However, she was again detained by immigration officials a few months later. Now in her thirties, she is currently awaiting deportation to Germany.
A new netflix The series, starring Ozark star and Emmy winner Julia Garner in the lead role, dramatizes her story. Based on a New York magazine reporter’s 2018 investigation into Sorokin, the series is entirely “completely true”, the trailer promises – “except for the parts that are totally made up”.
Conning New York’s elite
Born in Russia, Sorokin moved to Germany with her family as a teenager. After finishing her studies, she spent time in London and Paris before presenting New York to “Anna Delvey” in 2013. Her father, according to her, was a diplomat or an oil baron, and she was the heiress of his wealth. In reality, he is a former trucker who runs a heating and air conditioning company, according to New York magazine.
She made her way to the best parties and high-end hotels in town, pledging funds on the way and using generous cash tips to convince staff she was good for it.
Sorokin used fake bank statements to seek a £16million loan from a bank to fund a private art club she wanted to open in Manhattan, prosecutors said. Although it was turned down, she persuaded a bank to give her a loan of £74,000 – and used around £22,000 of it to cover overdue bills at the fashionable 11 Howard hotel, where she lived.
The fraudster also deposited NSF checks for £11,000 into an account with Signature Bank, managing to withdraw £6,000 in cash before they bounced, and used fake wire transfer receipts to deceive the victims.
In total, prosecutors accused her of stealing £202,000 – including a £26,000 bill she failed to pay for a chartered plane to and from a Berkshire Hathaway shareholders’ meeting , a multinational conglomerate, in Omaha, Nebraska.
She was eventually arrested in 2017 with “not a penny to her name, as far as we can determine,” prosecutor Catherine McCaw said at the time.
“I am stunned by the depth of deception”
At the end of her trial, Sorokin was found guilty by a jury of four counts of robbery and four counts of theft of services.
Jurors acquitted her on two counts, including an allegation that she promised a friend an all-expenses-paid trip to Morocco and then left him the £45,000 bill. She was also found not guilty of one of the most serious charges in the indictment: attempted theft of over £730,000 from City National Bank.
Judge Diane Kiesel said the defendant had been ‘blinded by the glitz and glamor of New York’ and rejected a request from her lawyers to sentence her only to the time she had already served in jail awaiting trial .
She also ordered Sorokin to pay nearly £150,000 in restitution and a £17,000 fine.
“I am stunned by the depth of the defendant’s deception,” Kiesel said, and also referenced the scammer’s online following. “I know she’s a trailblazer and an influencer…so I think the message should go out to Defendant and a lot of her fans that this has consequences.”
Todd Spodek, Sorokin’s defense attorney, told the court that Sorokin had “buy time” and had always intended to settle her debts, describing her as an ambitious entrepreneur rather than a criminal – but this characterization was rejected by prosecutors.
What did Sorokin say about Inventing Anna?
Created and produced by Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How To Get Away With Murder), the series is inspired by the 2018 New York Magazine article How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People by Jessica Pressler.
Anna Chlumsky (Veep, My Girl) plays a fictional version of the reporter, named Vivian Kent on the show.
Sorokin wrote an essay for the Insider news site ahead of her release, saying she had paid for her restitution – highlighting a report saying she had used the money given to her by the streaming platform to to do.
However, she said she would not watch while in police custody.
“Even if I had to pull a few strings and make it happen, nothing about seeing a fictionalized version of myself in this criminal-insane asylum setting feels appealing to me,” she wrote.
“For a long time, I hoped that by the time Inventing Anna came out, I would have moved on with my life. I imagined the series to be some sort of conclusion summarizing and closing 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. And while I’m curious to see how they interpreted all the research and documentation provided, I can’t help but feel like an afterthought.”
“I wanted to see it as unfiltered as possible” – Julia Garner
As part of her research for the show, Garner visited Sorokin in prison and spent hours watching taped interviews of the woman she portrayed.
Speaking to co-host of Sky News’ Backstage entertainment podcast, Stevie Wong, the actress said there were many questions she wanted to ask but had to find a balance.
“Obviously I wanted to ask Anna some questions, but you also want to feel it because these are sensitive questions and… you don’t want to take things too far. But I kind of anticipated that she wouldn’t go. give the answer to some questions just because Anna is such a private person and doesn’t give all the information about herself in a certain way. But I really didn’t expect any answers. I just wanted to see what resembled his energy and spirit.”
Garner said she chose not to record their meetings or take notes. “I kind of wanted to go there without recording anything, without documenting anything, because a dynamic changes as soon as someone feels like they’re being watched or seen – not even because it’s Anna, I say anyone. which, a moment ago filter.
“I just wanted to feel like she was comfortable talking to me…I just wanted to see her as unfiltered as possible.”
Garner said she was “amazed at how bubbly Sorokin could be.” However, she said her mood could change: “There were many times when she spoke extremely softly, but then she went from light to dark in seconds.
“I felt like it was this interesting combination of things, and it made it more confusing. But at the same time, it also made more sense – why she was able to do what she did. “
Inventing Anna is now available on Netflix