‘Anna Delvey,’ Fake Heiress Who Swindled N.Y.’s Elite, Is Sentenced to 4 to 12 Years in Prison – The New York Times

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Anna Sorokin, the fake German heiress who swindled her way into Manhattan’s elite party circles, was sentenced on Thursday to four to 12 years in prison for bilking hotels, banks and a private jet operator out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The sentencing capped a case of a young grifter who spun her tale with brazen flair. Ms. Sorokin, who used the name “Anna Delvey,” wore designer clothes, lived in boutique hotels, dined in expensive restaurants and lured investors for a $40 million private club — all without a penny to her name.

“I am stunned by the depth of the defendant’s deception,” Justice Diane Kiesel said in handing down the sentence in State Supreme Court in Manhattan. She added that Ms. Sorokin was “blinded by the glitter and glamour of New York City.”

Ms. Sorokin, 28, was convicted last month of most of the charges against her. She has been held on Rikers Island since October 2017.

In addition to the prison sentence, Ms. Sorokin was fined $24,000 and ordered to pay restitution of about $199,000. A Russian national, she faces deportation once she is released.

Her lawyer, Todd Spodek, called the sentence “draconian,” arguing that his client was not violent or a career criminal. During the trial, he said Ms. Sorokin was an enterprising, business-minded woman eager to make it in the big city.

Before she was sentenced, Ms. Sorokin addressed the court. “I apologize for the mistakes I made,” she said.

But the judge said Ms. Sorokin showed no remorse for her actions throughout the trial, and seemed more concerned about her clothing and which actress would play her in an upcoming Netflix series about the case, set to be produced by Shonda Rhimes.

A juror who visited the courtroom to watch the sentencing, and asked to remain anonymous, said she had been annoyed by Ms. Sorokin’s apparent self-centeredness. Her concern about her wardrobe led to a two-hour delay in the trial one day.

“She was interested in the designer clothes, the champagne, the private jets, the boutique hotel experience and the exotic travel that went along with it — everything that big money could buy,” Justice Kiesel said. “But she didn’t have big money. All she had was a big scam.”

Jurors agreed with prosecutors that her gilt-edged life was an elaborate ruse financed by lies.

Ms. Sorokin stiffed hotels, persuaded a bank employee to give her a $100,000 line of credit, swayed a private jet company to let her fly on credit and tried to secure a $25 million loan from a hedge fund. In all, she stole about $213,000 in cash and services.

Still, the jury found her not guilty of the most serious offense — faking records in an attempt to obtain a $22 million loan. She was also acquitted of stealing from a friend who said Ms. Sorokin duped her into covering the cost of a $60,000 vacation to Morocco.

To many friends, there was every reason to believe that Ms. Sorokin was a wealthy German heiress with so much money that she frequently doled out $100 tips and flew on a private jet to Berkshire Hathaway’s annual investment conference.

From left, Giudo Cacciatori, Gro Curtis, Giorgia Tordini and Ms. Sorokin at the Jane Hotel in Manhattan in 2014, the year Ms. Sorokin arrived in New York from Paris.CreditDave Kotinsky/Getty Images

Mr. Spodek, her lawyer, said during the trial that people believed what they wanted about Ms. Sorokin. She was enabled, he said, by a system “seduced by glamour and glitz.” She intended to pay back her creditors, he said.

“Through her sheer ingenuity, she created the life that she wanted for herself,” he said during the trial. “Anna was not content with being a spectator, but wanted to be a participant.”

Ms. Sorokin, a Russian immigrant from a middle-class family, arrived in New York from Paris in 2014. She had lofty dreams of opening a members-only arts club on Park Avenue South called A.D.F., for the Anna Delvey Foundation. In 2015, she enlisted the architect Gabriel Andres Calatrava to create what she envisioned would be a club similar to Soho House New York, with a bar, a nightclub and an art exhibit. Mr. Calatrava is the son of Santiago Calatrava, an architect who designed the Oculus, the centerpiece of the World Trade Center transit hub.

She also solicited help from a hotelier, André Balazs; a British-American entrepreneur, Roo Rogers; and a real estate developer, Aby Rosen.

She said she had found the perfect location for her club: 281 Park Avenue South, a landmark building. The project was expected to cost as much as $40 million.

At first, Mr. Calatrava and others believed she was good for it. Prosecutors said she told people that she had a trust fund and was worth 60 million euros.

She tried hard to get loans from banks and hedge funds, prosecutors said. She forged financial statements, and created a fake accountant and a phony financial adviser with emails that linked back to her, prosecutors said.

Ms. Sorokin tried to get a $22 million loan from City National Bank, but a banker rejected her request when he could not determine the source of her wealth. Mr. Calatrava had also stopped working with her when she could not provide proof that she could fund the project.

She then tried to secure a $25 million loan from Fortress Investment Group, prosecutors said, but she needed to pay a fee as part of the process to secure the loan. She turned to City National Bank and talked a banker into giving her a line of credit on her account for $100,000. She promised to repay it with a wire transfer from a European account.

After Fortress began investigating Ms. Sorokin’s personal and financial information, she withdrew from the deal, prosecutors said, and Fortress returned a little more than half of the money she provided. Instead of giving that money back to City National Bank, she spent it on expensive clothing and five-star hotels.

Prosecutors said Ms. Sorokin also tricked a friend, Rachel Williams, into spending $62,000 to cover the cost of a luxury trip to Marrakesh, Morocco, with two other people. The group stayed at the La Mamounia hotel, where they had a private villa with a courtyard, a pool and a butler.

When they returned to New York City, Ms. Sorokin promised to repay Ms. Williams through a wire transfer, Ms. Williams testified. Ms. Sorokin only returned $5,000 of what Ms. Williams said she was owed. A jury acquitted Ms. Sorokin of the charges associated with Ms. Williams.

In Manhattan, Ms. Sorokin moved from one luxurious hotel to the next, according to prosecutors. She was kicked out of 11 Howard in SoHo for not paying her bill. At the Beekman hotel, she had racked up an $11,000 tab. The W New York also forced her out when she did not put a credit card on file.

Her first arrest was in July 2017 at a restaurant inside the Le Parker Meridien hotel, where she was handed a lunch bill that was about $200. She could not pay it.