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Fake German heiress Anna Sorokin convicted of fraud

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Fake German heiress Anna Sorokin convicted of fraud
Anna Sorokin in a New York court. Image: DPA
10:00 CEST+02:00
A Russian-born German socialite who scammed her way to the top of New York High Society while accruing debts of a quarter of a million euros has been convicted of fraud.

Anna Sorokin, who went by the alias Anna Delvey, racked up debts of an estimated €250,000 after convincing friends, banks, hotels and restaurants that she was a wealthy German heiress to a €60 million fortune. 

Sorokin was convicted in a New York court on Wednesday of one count of attempted grand larceny, three counts of grand larceny and one charge of theft of services. DPA reports that she will be sentenced on May 9th. 

On one occasion, she sought a $22 million (€20 million) loan from investment company Fortress Investment Group. When asked to provide a $100,000 (€90,000) deposit for the loan, she managed to convince another financial institution – City National Bank – to lend her the money. 

On another occasion, she took a friend for an all-expenses-paid holiday to Morocco in a private mansion including a pool and dedicated butler. When the time came to pay the $62,000 (€55,000) bill, her credit card was declined. Sorokin convinced her friend to pay the amount, telling her she would later reimburse her. 

The friend, named in the media as Rachel DeLoache Williams, told Vanity Fair she was captivated by Sorokin's charm. 

“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 infra-red saunas and Moroccan vacations. And then she made my $62,000 disappear.”

Shy Russian schoolgirl turned art collector

Born near Moscow, Sorokin moved to Cologne, western Germany, with her family at the age of 16. Her friends described her as shy and having difficulties speaking German. 

After studying and working in Paris and London, she built herself a profile as a wealthy art collector. She created a prospectus for the ‘Anna Delvey Foundation' which sought investment from wealthy backers and art world identities. 

Fake it 'til you make it

As a sort of polar opposite to Leonardo Dicaprio's character in Catch Me If You Can, both her former friends and scorned lenders said they were surprised by how poorly Sorokin's scams looked. 

She often tried to secure loans by showing badly photoshopped screenshots of her supposed bank balance, while her friends commented on her lack of fashion sense - despite being dressed in expensive brands. 

Some suggested that this lack of attention to detail may have actually convinced people that she was a naive heiress to a huge fortune rather than a sophisticated grifter.  

‘There's a little bit of Anna in everyone'

At her trial, Sorokin's lawyer attempted to downplay his client's crimes, arguing that she was just doing what many people do when arriving in the ‘Big Apple'–- i.e. trying to make a “brand new start of it” like Frank Sinatra's character in New York, New York, he said.

He told the court “there's a little bit of Anna in everyone – everyone lies”. 

He added that Sorokin planned to pay back all of the money, although he was unable to clarify where the source of this money would come from. 

While Sorokin is expected to spend some time in prison as a result of the guilty verdict, there are reports of two separate movies being made to tell her story. 

 
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