It was a spun tale that mirrors corners of New York City itself: an extravagant promise to be near the hot center of prominence, obscured by a veneer of empty greed.
Anna Sorokin found her mark, and her marks, in the elite corners of Manhattan, and for years crafted an elaborate backstory of a wealthy German heiress worth tens of millions.
She was “Anna Delvey” to her socialite friends, Gucci-draped in upscale hotel bars, putting her luxe lifestyle on six-figure credit due to lenders and friends.
But as nabbed gangster Henry Hill said in the movie “Goodfellas” when the mob lifestyle came crashing down: Now, it’s all over.
Sorokin was found guilty Thursday of four counts of theft of services, three counts of grand larceny and one count of attempted grand larceny following a month-long trial, the Associated Press reported, after prosecutors said she bilked $275,000 out of people and businesses. She will be sentenced May 9, the AP reported, and may face years in prison.
As it turned out, Sorokin was a Russian immigrant who moved to Germany, not the daughter of an oil baron or diplomat, as she claimed. But she was a talented charmer and ambitious woman with a Rich Kids of Instagram-worthy social media presence.
Sorokin was a regular at upscale hotels, showering concierge staff and Uber drivers with crisp $100 bills, according to a New York magazine profile, quickly becoming a mainstay in circles running thick with architects and artists.
But the cracks started to show once two hotels filed charges for theft of services. Then, after depositing two bad checks, she was arrested in California and brought back to New York, according to the profile.
She also sought $22 million to build a private arts empire of installations and exhibits, prosecutors said, acting as tractor beam for the well-heeled she targeted for their wealth.
The loan fell through, the AP reported, but Sorokin did land a $100,000 loan that she failed to repay.
Her attorney, Todd Spodek, said his client sought to repay her significant debts. But she had to buy time. “ ‘Fake it until you make it,’ ” Spodek said during opening statements in Sorokin’s trial last month, the New York Times reported. “Anna had to live by it.”
Spodek did not return a request for comment. His defense strategy was to acknowledge the artificiality and credulity of New York social elites taken in by tales of wealth and taste, blinded by false shimmers of “glitz and glamour,” the Times reported.
But prosecutors accused Sorokin of a deliberate swindling, like an alleged promise to a friend for an all-expenses paid trip to Morocco that left the friend with a $62,000 bill. She was acquitted of that charge. But prosecutors made other charges stick.
“She stole from banks,” state prosecutor Kaegan Mays-Williams said, according to the Times. “She stole from hotels. She stole from friends. She tried to steal from a hedge fund.”
Sorokin may face deportation, the AP reported, because authorities have said she overstayed her visa.
But things are looking up for Sorokin, relatively. There are two competing projects associated with her.