Fake heiress who dazzled New York elite sentenced to up to 12 years in prison

NEW YORK (REUTERS) – A German woman who posed as a wealthy heiress to scam boutique New York hotels and fashionable friends was sentenced to four to 12 years in prison on Thursday (May 9) after a jury in state court found her guilty of fraud last month.

Anna Sorokin, 28, faced up to 15 years in prison on her conviction of charges stemming from multiple acts of glamourous grifting in 2016 and 2017.

Born in Russia before moving to Germany as a teenager with her family, she was better known to her Manhattan friends as Anna Delvey, a would-be socialite dressed in expensive clothes whose credit cards came back declined with unnerving frequency despite her talk of having a trust fund.

Prosecutors in the Manhattan district attorney’s office said Sorokin defrauded others of about US$275,000 (S$375,000) while pretending she had 60 million euros in assets.

They say she used forged bank statements to seek a loan of US$22 million from a bank to fund a private arts club she wanted to open in Manhattan. In the end, she managed to get a US$100,000 loan, which prosecutors said she never repaid. She used about US$30,000 of that to cover her overdue bills at the fashionable 11 Howard hotel, where she was living.

Prosecutors said she also deposited bad checks amounting to US$15,000 in an account with Signature Bank, managing to withdraw US$8,200 in cash before the checks bounced.

She also tricked a friend into covering bills for US$62,000 at the end of their six-night luxury trip to Morocco after Sorokin’s card was declined, prosecutors said, but the jury declined to convict Sorokin on this charge.

Disliking standard-issue jail overalls, Sorokin’s lawyers employed a stylist to dress her for her appearances in the Manhattan criminal court, and her daily looks became the subject of a dedicated Instagram account.

Vanessa Friedman, the New York Times’ chief fashion critic, wrote that the looks were “carefully crafted,” and included “a white long-sleeve V-neck mini with a sweet sheer overlay” and “a short white lace frock with a youthful drop waist.”

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement that Sorokin was a German citizen who had illegally overstayed in the United States. The agency said it will seek to send her back to Germany once her criminal proceedings are over.

The television writers Shonda Rhimes and Lena Dunham are separately working on adapting the Anna Delvey story for the screen, according to news reports.

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