The elaborate scam that was allegedly the life of a young woman posing as a wealthy German socialite in New York’s high society could soon be coming to a small screen near you.
The glamorous lifestyle of the Russian-born Anna Sorokin, who has been nicknamed “the Soho Grifter” for masquerading as Anna Delvey – the daughter of a German billionaire since 2016 – is the talk of the town in the Big Apple this week as she appears in court.
Sorokin faces charges of grand larceny and defrauding $US275,000 ($387,000) from friends, banks and businesses between November 2016 and August 2017, in a court case that has brought the reality of her social-climbing escapades into sharp perspective.
Along the way, it’s alleged Sorokin hosted dinner parties with Macaulay Culkin, draped herself in designer labels such as Balenciaga, Celine and Supreme, splurged thousands of dollars at a time wining and dining at some of NYC’s finest restaurants, and travelled the globe as a social media influencer.
But her unashamed pursuit of fame and fortune brought headlines for all the wrong reasons when the wannabe-socialite was arrested in October 2017.
Now it has emerged that the morality tale could soon go global, with news that Shonda Rhimes (the writer behind Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal) is working on a documentary for Netflix, and Lena Dunham of Girls fame is compiling a Sorokin project for HBO.
If found guilty of the charges, Sorokin – who turns 28 this year – faces up to 15 years in jail.
Prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s office allege she was a fraudster who lived in luxury hotels she could not afford, promised a friend an all-expenses-paid trip to Morocco and then saddled her with the $US62,000 bill, and peddled bogus bank statements in a quest for a $US22 million loan to establish a private members club.
Well known for paying with cash, Sorokin reportedly took out massive loans, promised fake wire transfers and asked friends to cover her bills as she claimed at various times her father was a diplomat, an oil baron or a solar panel millionaire.
After Sorokin’s arrest, prosecutor Catherine McCaw said Sorokin’s “scheme” had worked among trusted colleagues by claiming she had $US60 million in funds being held abroad.
“She’s born in Russia and has not a cent to her name as far as we can determine,” Ms McCaw said.
Sorokin has entered a not guilty plea to the grand larceny charge.
Sorokin’s attorney Todd Spodek told jurors in his opening statement that she never intended to commit a crime but was exploiting a system that was “easily seduced by glamour and glitz”.
“Anna had to fake it until she could make it,” Mr Spodek said.
Sorokin, who has been jailed at Rikers Island since her arrest, faces deportation to Germany after the trial because US Immigration and Customs Enforcement say she overstayed her 90-day visa.
Reports of the former Purple magazine intern’s behaviour first surfaced in an April 2018 Vanity Fair article written by a former friend, Rachel Williams.
“She walked into my life in Gucci sandals and Céline glasses, and showed me a glamorous, frictionless world of hotel living and Le Coucou dinners and infrared saunas and Moroccan vacations. And then she made my $62,000 disappear,” Williams wrote.
Sorokin’s adventures featured next in Jessica Pressler’s New York Magazine article titled “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People” – the rights for which were bought by streaming giant Netflix.