‘Just like Sinatra had to do it his way, Anna had to do it her way’
Anna Delvey, a Russian-German immigrant from a relatively humble background, longed to join the upper echelons of Manhattan’s social elite, scamming, tricking and compelling her way into exclusive social circles and parties and conning rich attendees out of hundreds of thousands of dollars as she went.
She’s since gained a burgeoning social media following, had a Netflix documentary made about her, and become an unlikely style icon – she's ranked as one of Dazed's 20 most stylish people in 2019 and her courtroom looks have their own Instagram account – but the fun for Ms Delvey may have come to an end (for now).
The New York City scammer, whose real name is Anna Sorokin, has been convicted by a jury of most of the charges levelled against her, including “second-degree grand larceny, theft of services and one count of first-degree attempted grand larceny”. She faces up to 15-years in prison for the second-degree grand larceny charge alone.
“Anna had to fake it until she could make it,” her lawyer Todd Spodek announced in his opening statement last month, adding: “Sinatra said, ‘I’ll make a brand new start of it in old New York, if I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere’ because the opportunities in New York are endless.”
The brand new start Sorokin was gunning for was the opening of her own members-only arts club on Park Avenue South in the heart of Manhattan, planning to spend millions of dollars on exhibitions, pop-ups and private soirées. She maintained the German heiress ruse as long as possible to try and amass enough funds for the club by swindling unsuspecting and unconscionably wealthy New York party people.
Sorokin’s lawyer argues that her crimes weren’t all that bad, as she always intended to pay back the “loans” given to her: “unorthodox, possibly unethical, but this is the life she’s chosen to live… Anna had to kick down the door to get her chance at life. Just like Sinatra had to do it his way, Anna had to do it her way”.
Sorokin also faces deportation to Germany as authorities claim she overstayed her visa.