Fake Heiress Anna Sorokin Sentenced to at Least Four Years in Prison for Scamming Banks, New York’s Elite
‘I am stunned by the depth of the defendant’s deception,’ a judge said Thursday.
Anna Sorokin, the “SoHo grifter” who posed as a fake German heiress to swindle friends and businesses out of hundreds of thousands of dollars to finance her socialite lifestyle, was sentenced to four to 12 years in prison on Thursday.
Known in the New York social scene as Anna Delvey, Sorokin was found guilty last month on eight counts, including first-degree attempted grand larceny. Jurors also acquitted Sorokin on two counts, one of which being the most serious charges against her: attempting to steal more than $1 million from City National Bank.
“I apologize for the mistakes I made,” Sorokin said before her sentencing.
In addition to her prison sentence, Sorokin was fined $24,000 and ordered to pay $199,000 in restitution. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have also said they will deport Sorokin, whose visa expired in 2017, once her sentence is over.
“I am stunned by the depth of the defendant’s deception,” Judge Diane Kiesel said at the Manhattan state court sentencing hearing.
Sorokin’s case garnered national attention after New York Magazine and Vanity Fair published exposes on the lengths the 28-year-old allegedly went to in order to convince close friends, banks, and financial institutions she was a foreign heiress with unlimited funds so she could get them to finance her international vacations, shopping habit, and lodging at expensive boutique hotels.
In reality, she was the daughter of a Russian truck driver who arrived in the U.S. in 2016.
Manhattan prosecutors argued during the three-week trial in Manhattan Supreme Court that Sorokin told “lie after lie” to maintain the lavish lifestyle she couldn’t afford, falsely telling friends and businesses she had inherited a $67 million fortune from her father, whom she claimed was a diplomat or an oil baron. They also alleged she falsified bank records and forged identification to further the scam. During a 10-month spree, Sorokin allegedly defrauded financial institutions and Manhattan’s elite out of $275,000.
“She knew if she told people she had this money, they would trust her, that eventually she would be good for the deal,” Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Catherine McCaw said in her closing arguments in April. “In fact, she had no ability to pay and no intention to pay.”
Her ruse began to unravel after she allegedly promised a friend an all-expenses paid trip to Morocco, then stuck her with the $62,000 bill. Sorokin was arrested in October 2017 and charged with grand larceny and theft of services.
During her trial, Sorokin declined to take the stand on her behalf, and her attorney did not put on a defense, but argued in his closing statement that Sorokin was just living by the old adage “fake it till you make it,” like New York musician legend Frank Sinatra.
“Sinatra made a brand-new start of it in New York, just as Miss Sorokin did,” her lawyer, Todd Spodek, told jurors in court on Tuesday, adding she “was ambitious, she was persistent and she was determined to make her business a reality.”