Fake Heiress Faces Up to 15 Years in Prison

Anna Sorokin scammed her way into elite NYC circles
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 26, 2019 4:54 AM CDT
Fake Heiress Faces Up to 15 Years in Prison
Anna Sorokin returns to the courtroom after the jury sent a note, Thursday, April 25, 2019, in New York. .   (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

A woman who claimed to be a wealthy German heiress has been found guilty of scamming banks, hotels, and friends who funded her lavish New York City lifestyle. Anna Sorokin, 28, was found guilty Thursday of four counts of theft of services, three counts of grand larceny, and one count of attempted grand larceny, the AP reports. Prosecutors said Sorokin, calling herself Anna Delvey, positioned herself among the city's elite so she could "live the fantasy of an extravagant lifestyle beyond her means," the New York Times reports. She wore designer clothes, lived in luxury hotels, handed out $100 tips, and even hired a private jet, but other people were left to pick up the tab when her credit cards ran out. One former friend testified that Sorokin promised her a trip to Morocco but left her with a $62,000 bill.

Prosecutors said Sorokin claimed to have assets of $67 million and forged documents in an attempt to secure a loan of $22 million to open an arts center. One bank loaned her $100,000, which she used for a shopping spree. But Sorokin was no heiress: Her father, an immigrant from Russia, is a former trucker who runs a heating business in Germany. "As proven at trial, Anna Sorokin committed real white-collar felonies over the course of her lengthy masquerade," District Attorney Cyrus Vance said after she was convicted. She was acquitted of grand larceny, the most serious charge, but could still face up to 15 years in prison when she is sentenced next month, the BBC reports. When the trial opened a month ago, her defense lawyer argued that Sorokin had been living by the words "Fake it until you make it," and had planned to eventually pay everybody back. (More hoax stories.)

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