Anna Sorokin is found GUILTY: Fake German heiress who swindled $275K from friends and turned her trial into a fashion show is convicted on seven counts of fraud and faces 15-years in jail

New York jury found Anna Sorokin guilty on Thursday after three-week trial

26 April 2019 - 08:15

A New York jury has convicted fake German heiress Anna Sorokin of swindling tens of thousands of dollars from banks, hotels and friends.

Jurors returned a guilty verdict Thursday following a month-long trial that attracted international attention.

Sorokin was convicted of three counts of grand larceny and four counts of theft of services. She's to be sentenced May 9 and faces up to 15 years behind bars.

The one-time darling of the Big Apple has been on trial for the past month on grand larceny and theft of services charges after swindling friends, banks and hotels out of $275,000 in a 10-month odyssey. 

Sorokin leaves the courtroom during jury deliberations in her trial at New York State Supreme Court, in New York on Thursday

Sorokin leaves the courtroom during jury deliberations in her trial at New York State Supreme Court, in New York on Thursday

Sorokin in court on Thursday
Sorokin in court on Thursday

Sorokin claimed to be a German heiress and swindled friends, banks and hotels out of $275,000 in a 10-month odyssey. She is seen in court on Thursday

Anna Sorokin returns to the courtroom after the jury sent a note on Thursday in New York. She was found guilty of grand larceny and theft of services charges

Anna Sorokin returns to the courtroom after the jury sent a note on Thursday in New York. She was found guilty of grand larceny and theft of services charges

Anna Sorokin and her attorney Todd Spodek listen to the jury foreman during the announcement of the verdict in her trial at New York State Supreme Court on Thursday

Anna Sorokin and her attorney Todd Spodek listen to the jury foreman during the announcement of the verdict in her trial at New York State Supreme Court on Thursday

Anna Sorokin reacts after the announcement of the guilty verdict in her trial at New York State Supreme Court on Thursday in New York

Anna Sorokin reacts after the announcement of the guilty verdict in her trial at New York State Supreme Court on Thursday in New York

Court officers escort Anna Sorokin following the announcement of the verdict in her trial at New York State Supreme Court on Thursday

Court officers escort Anna Sorokin following the announcement of the verdict in her trial at New York State Supreme Court on Thursday

Sorokin is led out of the court in handcuffs after a jury found her guilty on all counts

Sorokin is led out of the court in handcuffs after a jury found her guilty on all counts

She will remain in custody until her May 9 sentencing, and faces up to 15 years in prison

She will remain in custody until her May 9 sentencing, and faces up to 15 years in prison

As proven at trial, Anna Sorokin committed real white-collar felonies over the course of her lengthy masquerade,' said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R Vance Jr in a statement. 

'I thank the jury for its service in this complex trial, as well as my Office's prosecutors and investigators for their meticulous investigation and resolve to ensure that Sorokin faces real justice for her many thefts and lies,' Vance said. 

Prosecutors said Sorokin lived in luxury New York hotel rooms that she couldn't afford, promised a friend an all-expenses trip to Morocco and then stiffed her with the $62,000 bill and peddled bogus bank statements in her quest for a $22 million loan for a private arts club. 

During closing arguments on Tuesday, prosecutors portrayed Sorokin as a profligate con artist, while her lawyer insisted she was an aspiring businesswoman taken in by New York's extravagance.

Her defense attorney, Todd Spodek, insisted Sorokin had been 'buying time' and planned all along to settle her six-figure debts, portraying her as an entrepreneur who got in over her head. He compared her at one point to Frank Sinatra, saying 'they both created their own opportunities' in New York.

'There's a little bit of Anna in all of us,' Spodek said. 'This is the life she chose to live.'

Sorokin had ambitious business plans to build a private arts club in New York and that she was 'persistent and she was determined to make her business a reality', according to her attorney.

She may have led an unethical and unorthodox lifestyle, he added, but Sorokin was 'enabled every step of the way by a system that favors people with money.'

In trying to prove Sorokin's intent, Assistant District Attorney Catherine McCaw said Sorokin told 'lie after lie' to prolong a life of luxury she couldn't afford, providing forged financial records and identifications to banks.

She lived out of ritzy hotels on an overdrawn account, dined at the finest restaurants and even hired a personal trainer who charged $300 a session, McCaw said.

Sorokin not only assumed a different identity for herself but created a team of 'imaginary' assistants, McCaw said, a ruse that lent credence to her efforts to expand her credit. There was, for instance, an accountant who didn't exist whom Sorokin blamed for delays in wire transfers.

'All of the defendant's wire transfers are merely a figment of her imagination,' McCaw said.

'These are not white lies. These are lies that help you understand that the defendant, in fact, had criminal intent in this case.'

Sorokin, in court on Thursday prior to hearing the verdict, turned her trial into a fashion parade, and had to be admonished by the judge for fussing over her apparel

Sorokin, in court on Thursday prior to hearing the verdict, turned her trial into a fashion parade, and had to be admonished by the judge for fussing over her apparel 

The one-time darling of the Big Apple has been on trial for the past month on grand larceny and theft of services charges after swindling friends, banks and hotels out of $275,000 in a 10-month odyssey

The one-time darling of the Big Apple has been on trial for the past month on grand larceny and theft of services charges after swindling friends, banks and hotels out of $275,000 in a 10-month odyssey

Sorokin, who adopted the name Anna Delvey, deceived friends and financial institutions alike into believing she had a 60 million euro wealth overseas that would cover her lavish hotel stays and jet-setting lifestyle.  

Many believed she was the German heiress she claimed to be given she traveled in celebrity circles and tossed around crisp $100 bills. 

But behind the jet-setting lifestyle and expensive designer clothing, prosecutors said Sorokin was simply a fraudster just trying to get a taste of the high life. 

Becoming a darling of the New York social scene: How she climbed her way to the top 

Sorokin was already brushing shoulders with rich people in the years before she came to New York and started dazzling Manhattan's social elite.

Acquaintances say Sorokin had spent several years playing the part of an art-obsessed German heiress across the world.

Sorokin was already brushing shoulders with rich people in the years before she came to New York and started dazzling Manhattan's social elite

Sorokin was already brushing shoulders with rich people in the years before she came to New York and started dazzling Manhattan's social elite 

She rubbed shoulders with the fashion elite at Paris Fashion Week as early as 2013 and was frequently spotted at London nightspots like the Chiltern Firehouse and Loulou's.

Those who knew of her recalled seeing her at a party in Berlin in 2015 during which Sorokin told guests she had just flown in on a private jet.

As a result of her internship at Purple in Paris, some noted that she appeared to be close friends with its editor-in-chief Oliver Zahm.

By the time Sorokin arrived in New York in early 2016, she seemingly had the social connections to make a name for herself, as well as a designer-clad wardrobe that exuded wealth.

At the time, she had 40,000 followers on Instagram and was regularly pictured at events and parties with well-to-do people.

She quickly went about proving herself to be an impossibly rich heiress who had plans to shake up New York's art world.

She made a show of proving she belonged and would regularly be decked out in her now signature Celine glasses, Gucci sandals and high-end buys from Net-a-Porter and Elyse Walker.

Sorokin rented a $400-a-night room for several months at Manhattan's expensive 11 Howard hotel. Concierges at the hotel - including Neff Davis who she would later become friends with - were gobsmacked when Sorokin would pass out $100 tips to them and Uber drivers.  

She would also splash out on shopping sprees in luxury boutiques, expensive personal training sessions and beautician appointments.

The socialite elite were drawn to her and she would regularly host large dinners for celebrities, artists , CEOs and the like at the lavish Le Coucou restaurant in SoHo.

By the time Sorokin arrived in New York in early 2016, she seemingly had the social connections to make a name for herself, as well as a designer-clad wardrobe that exuded wealth

By the time Sorokin arrived in New York in early 2016, she seemingly had the social connections to make a name for herself, as well as a designer-clad wardrobe that exuded wealth 

Sorokin gave varying accounts of where her wealth actually came from, according to her acquaintances. She told some that her father was a Russian oil billionaire. Others were under the impression that her parents were high up in the German solar energy business

At one such dinner, Sorokin's concierge friend Neff Davis said she was star struck to find herself sitting next to Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin.

She also once hired a PR firm to organize her birthday party at Sadelle's in SoHo. It would later emerged that she never paid the bill. It is unclear what the cost of the party was in the end.

During her stay at Howard 11, Sorokin struck up a friendship with Davis when she arrived at the concierge desk asking for recommendations for the best food in SoHo.

In an interview with The Cut last year, Davis recalled one instance during their friendship where they went for dinner at SoHo's Sant Ambroeus. Davis said she was forced to pay the $286 bill when Sorokin's 12 credit cards declined. 

'The waiter went back to his station and began entering the numbers. There were like 12, and I know the guy tried them all,' she said. 'He was trying it and then shaking his head. And then I started to sweat, because I knew the bill was mine.'

She said Sorokin paid her back triple the amount in cash the following day.

Another friend, Rachel Deloache Williams, testified during Sorokin's trial that she was under the impression she was a German solar panel heiress. 

Williams, who also wrote about her ordeal in Vanity Fair where she worked as a photo editor, said they had met in February 2016 and were friends for 18 months. 

She said Delvey often paid for the pair to go to infared saunas in the East Village and they also dined together and worked out with celebrity trainer Kacy Duke, which Sorokin also paid for.  

When she arrived in New York in 2016, she quickly went about proving herself to be an impossibly rich heiress who had plans to shake up New York's art world

When she arrived in New York in 2016, she quickly went about proving herself to be an impossibly rich heiress who had plans to shake up New York's art world

German solar energy heiress or a Russian oil billionaire's daughter: Where did her 'wealth' come from?

Sorokin gave varying accounts of where her wealth supposedly came from, according to her acquaintances.

She told some that her father was a Russian oil billionaire or a diplomat to Russia. Others were under the impression that her parents were high up in the solar energy business.

In reality Sorokin did not have a cent to her name, according to prosecutors. Her father is a former truck driver in Russia who now runs a heating and cooling business.

Sorokin managed to avoid suspicion among her wealthy friends in New York for months.

People around her say they didn't even think twice when she asked them to put taxi fares and plane tickets on their credit cards. She would often blame her situation on issues with moving her assets across from Europe. Associates recall laughing it off as forgetfulness - because she was so rich - when they had to hound her to pay them back.

As she continued to ingratiate herself into the New York socialite scene, Sorokin started talking about her plans to build her dream project – a multi-million private arts club that she thought about calling the Anna Delvey Foundation.

It would be an arts foundation that would include exhibitions, installations, pop-up shops, bars and restaurants.

She compared the project to the SoHo house members' club empire and said she planned to open branches in London, Los Angeles, Dubai and Hong Kong.

Bogus bank statements showing a $60m fortune and depositing fake checks: How she managed to scam    

Sorokin kept up the heiress ruse when she went looking for a $22 million loan to fund her new club in November 2016.

She said the loan would be secured by a letter of credit from UBS in Switzerland and showed what prosecutors say were bogus bank statements that purported to substantiate the $67 million in assets she claimed to have.

Spencer Garfield, a banker at the private equity fund Fortress, testified during her trial that Sorokin's loan was rejected because she couldn't produce proof of her fortune. 

Her attorney argued in court that one of the firm's executives had sent Sorokin dozens of proactive texts, telling her she was 'beautiful inside and out', that he was 'forcing myself not to kiss you' and asking to come up to her hotel room.  

People around her say they didn't even think twice when she asked them to put taxi fares and plane tickets on their credit cards. She would often blame her situation on issues with moving her assets across from Europe

As she continued to ingratiate herself into the New York socialite scene, Sorokin started talking about her plans to build her dream project – a multi-million private arts club that she thought about calling the Anna Delvey Foundation

As she continued to ingratiate herself into the New York socialite scene, Sorokin started talking about her plans to build her dream project – a multi-million private arts club that she thought about calling the Anna Delvey Foundation

Her fall from grace: The $30,000 in hotel charges and a $62,000 Morocco trip she couldn't pay for 

Sorokin's fall from grace seemingly started to unravel when she was kicked out of the 11 Howard hotel.  

Her friend Neff, who worked at the hotel, was contacted by a manager at 11 Howard in early 2017 to say they didn't have a credit card on file to pay for Sorokin's lengthy stay. 

At that point, Sorokin had racked up $30,000 in charges at the hotel. 

When the hotel pressed her for payment, Sorokin told them a wire transfer was on the way and then proceeded to order a case of 1975 Dom Perignon for the staff. 

Citibank eventually did send the wire transfer for the full $30,000 amount, which prosecutors said she paid for using money from bad checks.

But the hotel still locked Sorokin out of her hotel room in May 2017 while she was away on a trip to Nebraska because she couldn't provide a working credit card.

Sorokin had chartered a private plane that cost $35,400 to and from the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska so she could try and meet billionaire Warren Buffet. 

She boasted to friends that she got into a dinner party and spoke to the billionaire herself. 

The bill for the charter company, which is popular among New York's elite who use it to fly to and from the Hamptons and Miami, never got paid. 

A spokesman for Fly Blade said it made an exception for Sorokin because international payments can sometimes take time to come through. In Sorokin's case, she had assured them with doctored confirmation of payment. 

'For the flight in question, we received oral confirmation of the funds transfer with routing numbers and all relevant and verifiable account information. This was followed by receipt of a PDF of a Deutsche Bank wire confirmation which Deutsche Bank later determined was doctored,' a spokesman told DailyMail.com. 

When Sorokin did not pay, they canceled the return leg of her trip. The jet was also already en-route to Los Angeles, they said, so 'the cost of stopping in Omaha was de minimus'.

Friend, Rachel Deloache Williams, who wrote about her ordeal with Anna in Vanity Fair, went with Sorokin on the Morocco trip. When Sorokin's credit cards declined, Williams was forced to put the $62,000 trip on her work card

Friend, Rachel Deloache Williams, who wrote about her ordeal with Anna in Vanity Fair, went with Sorokin on the Morocco trip. When Sorokin's credit cards declined, Williams was forced to put the $62,000 trip on her work card

During cross examination last week, Sorokin's attorney questioned her former friend Williams about how she didn't see the red flags other had raised about his client's wealth. He suggested that Williams had turned a blind eye because she was a beneficiary of Sorokin's generosity

During cross examination last week, Sorokin's attorney questioned her former friend Williams about how she didn't see the red flags other had raised about his client's wealth. He suggested that Williams had turned a blind eye because she was a beneficiary of Sorokin's generosity

Upon her return to New York, she was evicted by police from the 11 Howard hotel. 

She moved her luggage to the Mercer hotel just around the corner and then immediately embarked on a $62,000 extravagant trip to Morocco that she had promised two friends that same month. 

Williams - the Vanity Fair photo editor - was among those invited on the all-expense paid trip, as well as Sorokin's personal trainer Kacy Duke and a videographer to document the trip 'for fun'. 

Sorokin had told her friends she needed to leave the country to allow her tourist ESTA visa to renew. 

The flights were paid for by Williams on her work credit card and she assumed Sorokin would reimburse her since she had claimed she would foot the bill for the lavish vacation.

They checked into a $7,000-a-night villa at the five star resort La Mamounia.  

The six-day trip was without hiccups for several days until the hotel staff insisted on putting a credit card on file because Sorokin had booked their trip without a working one. 

Many believed Anna was the German heiress she claimed to be given she traveled in celebrity circles and tossed around crisp $100 bills

Many believed Anna was the German heiress she claimed to be given she traveled in celebrity circles and tossed around crisp $100 bills

Williams, who said she had $410 in her checking account at the time, was forced to hand her credit card over. The balance was more than she earned in a year. 

Sorokin had promised to pay her back $70,000 when they returned to New York. 

But after months of hassling her for the money, Williams said she reported Sorokin to police and then the New York district attorney's office. 

After returning from Morocco and having been kicked out of the 11 Howard, Sorokin had checked into the Beekman Hotel. She told Williams that the Mercer - where she had dropped her bags before leaving on the trip - had since booked out. 

She was subsequently locked out of her room at the Beekman after just 20 days when the hotel realized they didn't have a working credit card on file and she had racked up $11,500 in charges.  

Sorokin then checked into W Hotel downtown for two nights but met a similar fate. 

She then asked her trainer and Williams if she could sleep on their couches. 

Sorokin was arrested in October 2017 for stealing $275,000 through multiple scams between November 2016 and August 2017. 

It emerged last week during the trial that Sorokin's friend Williams had helped set up her arrest. 

Williams, with the help of the NYPD, had arranged a lunch with Sorokin in Los Angeles so the fake socialite could be taken into custody. 

Sorokin has always denied the 16 charges filed against her, including grand theft and larceny. 

Her attorney Todd Spodek has claimed his client never intended to commit a crime and she had always intended to pay back the money she owed. 

He told jurors during the opening statements of her trial that Sorokin was exploiting  a system that was 'easily seduced by glamour and glitz' after she saw how the appearance of wealth opened doors. 

Spodek argued that Sorokin was just trying to buy time so she could launch her business and repay the debts. 

'Anna had to fake it until she could make it,' her attorney said. 

Following her arrest in October 2017, Sorokin made several brief court appearances looking a world away from the German heiress she claimed to be
When her trial started on March 27, Sorokin's fashion choices drastically changed from the prison uniform

Following her arrest in October 2017, Sorokin made several brief court appearances looking a world away from the German heiress she claimed to be. When her trial started on March 27, Sorokin's fashion choices drastically changed

During cross examination last week, Sorokin's attorney questioned her former friend Williams about how she didn't see the red flags other had raised about his client's wealth. 

He suggested that Williams had turned a blind eye because she was a beneficiary of Sorokin's generosity. 

'This is the most traumatic thing I've ever been through,' Williams said tearfully during the trial. 'I wish I had never met Anna. If I could go back in time and not be where I am today, you bet I would.'

During the trial, Williams told jurors that she was paid $1,300 for the Vanity Fair article and she has sold her story to HBO and publishing company Simon & Schuster. She stands to make about $635,000 if the deals go through. 

Netflix or HBO? Hollywood's fight for Sorokin's story 

Almost as quickly as Sorokin was arrested, producers and screenwriters were clambering to secure the rights to her story. 

There are two productions in the works: a Netflix series produced by Grey's Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes and a dueling HBO series by Lena Dunham. 

Sorokin, who has been jailed at Rikers since her arrest, is said to be thrilled about the interest, according to friends. 

Neff Davis (above), who met Sorokin when she was a concierge at the 11 Howard, said Anna wants Jennifer Lawrence or Margot Robbie to play her in a Netflix or HBO series

Neff Davis (above), who met Sorokin when she was a concierge at the 11 Howard, said Anna wants Jennifer Lawrence or Margot Robbie to play her in a Netflix or HBO series

'She's like, Okay, as long as Jennifer Lawrence or Margot Robbie play me,' Neff Davis, a former hotel receptionist described as Sorokin's 'only remaining friend', told Paper magazine last year. 

She was aghast that there were rumors Lindsay Lohan was being considered, Davis said.

'Oh my god, no offense, but isn't she like 30? My hair's not even red anymore, did you tell them that,' Davis claimed Sorokin told her during one conversation about it. 

'She really, really wants Margot Robbie.

'She just watched I, Tonya in Rikers and thinks Margot is bada**. I'm sure Margot Robbie would kill it,' Davis added.

Neither Robbie nor Lawrence has signed on to any project. 

During her trial, she was lambasted by Justice Diane Kiesel for seeming to care more about the productions than the trial.

'She seems more concerned about who is going to play her in the movie than what she's done to the people she allegedly took advantage of,' Kiesel said of Sorokin. 

'This is not a fashion show': How her trial became a catwalk of designer clothing

Sorokin was also scolded by the judge multiple times during the trial for delaying proceedings because she wasn't happy with her outfit choices and treating the trial like a 'fashion show'. 

She turned heads on each day of her trial thanks to her choice of designer clothing - but the choice infuriated the judge and ended with Sorokin in tears. 

During one court appearance, Sorokin refused to come out of her holding cell dressed in her prison uniform. The hearing was delayed when her attorney handed the judge a bag with a weeks worth of clothing, which then had to be checked by security.

Sorokin (pictured on Tuesday) was also scolded by the judge multiple times during the trial for delaying proceedings because she wasn't happy with her outfit choices and treating the trial like a 'fashion show'

Sorokin (pictured on Tuesday) was also scolded by the judge multiple times during the trial for delaying proceedings because she wasn't happy with her outfit choices and treating the trial like a 'fashion show' 

For the first day of her trial, Sorokin wore this black, low cut Michael Kors dress
She paired it with a choker she had made herself

On the first day of her trial, Sorokin stepped into the courtroom dressed in her usual Celine glasses, a sleek, low cut black Michael Kors dress and a black choker 

Sorokin donned this white sheer Zara dress on Wednesday as the jury continued to deliberate in her case

Sorokin donned this white sheer Zara dress on Wednesday as the jury continued to deliberate

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