Anna Sorokin, the Russian-born German national who scammed her way into New York's high society, has been convicted for defrauding people out of thousands of dollars.
A Manhattan jury found Sorokin guilty of a total eight counts of theft of services, grand larceny and attempted grand larceny following a trial that lasted for a month. It had acquitted her of one count of grand larceny and another one for attempted grand larceny.
The supposed socialite is now facing up to 15 years in jail and a possible deportation back to her home country for overstaying her visa. Her sentencing is set for May 9.
Fake European Heiress
Sorokin, who took on the name Anna Delvey, pretended to be a wealthy heiress to a €60 million ($67 million) fortune. She was able to use her fake status to trick several of her friends and other establishments, including banks, restaurants, and hotels, to finance her lavish lifestyle for 10 months.
At one point, Sorokin tried to get a $22 million from New York-based investment management firm Fortress Investment Group. When the company asked her to provide a $100,000 deposit first, she did so by borrowing money from City National Bank.
The fake European socialite also took one of her friends, a certain Rachel DeLoache Williams, for a holiday at a private mansion in Morocco. However, when it was time for her to pay their $62,000 bill, she claimed that her credit card was declined. She was able to convince Williams to take care of the bill, promising her that she would pay her back the money later.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Williams described how Sorokin used her charm to trick people into doing what she wanted.
"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," Williams recalled.
"And then she made my $62,000 disappear."
Sorokin's real life was far from the one she had used for her Anna Delvey persona. She was born in a village near Moscow, Russia in 1991.
In 2007, when she was just 16, her parents decided to move the family to Cologne, Germany to start a new life. The teenager was described by her friends as shy and had a hard time learning how to speak German.
After spending time studying and learning in France and the United Kingdom, Sorokin started building up her cover story as a rich art collector. She even created the "Anna Delvey Foundation", a fake organization for which she had asked wealthy backers to invest in.
Many of her former friends and investors noted how badly Sorokin's schemes were presented to them. Some of them commented on how the supposed heiress would use poorly edited screenshots of bank documents in an effort to secure loans. She was also said to have a lousy fashion sense, which her former associates found odd seeing that she often wore luxury brands.
Despite her apparent lack of attention to detail, some observers believe it might have even helped to convince victims that she was just another clueless rich girl instead of a talented scam artist.
During Sorokin's trial, her lawyer tried to dismiss her crimes by arguing that she was only doing what anyone would to survive in New York. He said she was just trying to start a "brand new start of it".
He told the court that Sorokin had plans to pay back all of the money that were used. However, he failed to explain where his client planned to get that money from.
Sorokin's newfound infamy has inspired studios to adapt her story into film, with both Netflix and HBO competing to secure the rights.