German heiress hoax scores woman celebrity treatment, and charges

Anna Sorokin faces a number of charges in New York

Anna Sorokin travelled in celebrity circles and tossed $100 tips — all the more reason to believe she was the German heiress she said she was. But behind the jet-set lifestyle and pricey threads, prosecutors say, was a fraudster who bilked friends, banks and hotels for a taste of the high life.

Sorokin, 28, lived in luxury New York City hotel rooms she couldn’t afford, promised a friend an all-expenses paid trip to Morocco and then stuck her with the $62,000 bill, and peddled bogus bank statements in a quest for a $22 million loan, the Manhattan District Attorney’s office alleges.

On Wednesday, the one-time darling of the Big Apple social scene is scheduled to stand trial on grand larceny and theft of services charges alleging she swindled $275,000 in a 10-month odyssey that saw her jetting to Omaha and Marrakesh before landing in a cell at Rikers Island.

“Her overall scheme has been to claim to be a wealthy German heiress with approximately $60 million in funds being held abroad,” prosecutor Catherine McCaw said after Sorokin’s October 2017 arrest. “She’s born in Russia and has not a cent to her name as far as we can determine.”

Sorokin’s lawyer, Todd Spodek, did not respond to a telephone message left Tuesday. At a hearing last month, he said that Sorokin is “presumed innocent and never intended to commit a larceny.”

Sorokin, jailed since her arrest, faces deportation to Germany regardless of the outcome of the trial because authorities say she overstayed her visa. Her story, however, may stick around. Shonda Rhimes, the force behind “Grey’s Anatomy” and Scandal,” has announced she is creating a television series about Sorokin, whose Instagram bio says: “soon on Netflix.”

Sorokin arrived in the world of champagne wishes and caviar dreams in 2016 with a new name (Anna Delvey) and a wardrobe to match (Celine sunglasses, Gucci sandals and high-end buys from Net-a-Porter and Elyse Walker). She made a show of proving she belonged, passing crisp Benjamins to Uber drivers and hotel concierges, but she gave varying accounts for the source of her wealth, according to people who knew her.

At different times, they said, she’d claim her father was a diplomat, an oil baron or a solar panel muckity-muck. In reality, her father told New York magazine , he’s a former trucker who runs a heating-and-cooling business.

At first, people around Sorokin didn’t see a red flag when she asked them to put cabs and plane fares on their credit cards — she sometimes said she had trouble moving her assets from Europe, they said — and they laughed it off as forgetfulness when they had to hound her to pay them back.

“It was a magic trick,” Rachel Williams, the friend from the Morocco trip, wrote in Vanity Fair . “I’m embarrassed to say that I was one of the props, and the audience, too. Anna’s was a beautiful dream of New York, like one of those nights that never seems to end. And then the bill arrives.”

As she ingratiated herself to the New York party scene, prosecutors said, Sorokin started talking up plans to spend tens of millions of dollars building a private arts club with exhibitions, installations and pop-up shops. She thought about calling it the Anna Delvey Foundation.

Sorokin kept up the heiress ruse as she went looking for a $22 million loan for the club in November 2016, prosecutors said. She claimed the loan would be secured by a letter of credit from UBS in Switzerland and showed statements purporting to substantiate her assets, according to an outline of the charges.

One bank rejected Sorokin because she “did not have sufficient cash flow to make loan payments,” prosecutors said. She bailed on another firm when it pressured her for a meeting with a UBS banker who could verify her assets, prosecutors said.

During the process, prosecutors said, Sorokin convinced one bank to lend her $100,000 to cover due diligence costs. She ended up keeping $55,000 and “frittered away these funds on personal expenses in about one month’s time,” prosecutors said. A few months later, in May 2017, Sorokin allegedly chartered a plane to and from the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, but never paid the $35,400 bill.

Broke and facing a big bill at a midtown Manhattan hotel in July 2017, Sorokin pleaded with a police officer that a bailout was on the way, prosecutors said.

“I have no money and no credit cards. I’m waiting for my aunt from Germany. She’s going to pay,” Sorokin said, according to court documents. “I’m not trying to run. Why are you making a big deal about this? Give me five minutes and I can get a friend to pay.”

Michael R. Sisak, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

B.C.’s major rivers surge, sparking flood warnings

A persistent low pressure system over Alberta has led to several days of heavy rain

Tourism Chilliwack rolls out mobile visitors’ centre in an RV called Winston

Part of an innovative recovery plan following the hit local tourism has taken from COVID-19

Search continues for person seen floating in Coquihalla River in Hope

Rescuers halted the search Thursday night as darkness fell

Missing Chilliwack woman has not been in contact with family for several months

The RCMP are asking for the public’s help in locating 35-year-old Chantelle Chenier of Chilliwack

Rescuers halt Coquihalla River search due to darkness, after reports of person in river

No information to indicate a child is involved, RCMP state, after this information surfaced on social media

13 new B.C. COVID-19 cases, Langley Lodge outbreak ends

Health care outbreaks down to four, 162 cases active

Greater Vancouver home sales start to tick up, with prices holding steady

Residential sales last month reached 2,443, a 64.5 per cent jump from May

Langley Lodge’s deadly outbreak declared over

Fraser Health and long-term care home administrator confirm Friday declaration

PHOTOS: South Surrey tractor project evokes ‘$1-million smile,’ helps connect neighbours

Retired Surrey firefighter Ron Henze began project for friend’s dad to fill time during pandemic

Alberta health minister orders review into response after noose found in hospital in 2016

A piece of rope tied into a noose was found taped to the door of an operating room at the Grande Prairie Hospital in 2016

B.C.’s Indigenous rights law faces 2020 implementation deadline

Pipeline projects carry on as B.C. works on UN goals

‘Mind boggling’: B.C. man $1 million richer after winning Lotto 6/49 a second time

David O’Brien hopes to use his winnings to travel and of course keep playing the lottery

B.C. teacher loses licence after sexual relationships with two recently-graduated students

The teacher won’t be allowed to apply for a teaching certificate until 2035

Most Read