“Nothing about seeing a fictionalized version of myself in this criminal-insane-asylum setting sounds appealing to me.”
Anna Sorokin, who’s currently in custody at the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, has no intention to watch Netflix’s crime miniseries Inventing Anna anytime soon.
The nine-episode series tells the story of Anna Sorokin, who scammed the New York elite under the alias “Anna Delvey.” The show was inspired by the story of journalist Jessica Pressler of the famed New York Magazine in May 2018.
The German socialite turned international fraudster revealed in a letter published by the Insider that she “hates” seeing her story and character being dissected by the public.
“It doesn't look like I'll be watching Inventing Anna anytime soon. Even if I were to pull some strings and make it happen, nothing about seeing a fictionalized version of myself in this criminal-insane-asylum setting sounds appealing to me,” she wrote.
Even if the story revolves around Sorokin’s notorious scams, she doesn’t want to be “trapped” with people “dissecting my character.”
“I just don't want to be trapped with these people dissecting my character, even though no one ever says anything bad. If anything, everyone's really encouraging, but in this cheap way and for all the wrong reasons,” Sorokin said.
Inventing Anna has been rising at Netflix Philippines’s Top 10 where it currently stands at second place, as of this writing. Before we gape at her peculiar rise in social status, here’s a rundown of her notorious scams and her claim to fame.
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Anna lived many lives prior to her 2019 arrest
Anna was a German socialite. Usually clad in designer brands like Miu Miu and Celine, she’s a woman who clinks glasses with New York City’s elite as “Anna Delvey.” An Esquire report also revealed that she assumed the identity of a Russian immigrant, wealthy entrepreneur, an aspiring restaurateur, and a philanthropist, among others.
Prior to her arrest, she lived in New York’s elite circles from 2013 to 2017 and survived off fake accounts and bounced checks.
Sorokin’s heinous crimes started at the New York Fashion Week in 2013 where she transferred to Purple Magazine’s NYC headquarters for a brief stint, as per The New York Times’ story “A Fake Heiress Called Anna Delvey Conned the City’s Wealthy. ‘I’m Not Sorry, she says.’”
At that time, she invented the Anna Delvey Foundation where she proposed the idea of opening up an exclusive’s members’ only club, which includes a restaurant and an art foundation.
A Chinese art collector caught Anna’s red flags early on
In 2015, Chinese art collector Michael Xufu Huang suspected that Sorokin is a “con artist” after returning from the Venice Biennale exhibition. The two met at a dinner party after a gallerist encouraged Huang to meet up with Sorokin since they were planning to “establish private art museums” at that time.
Huang and Sorokin attended the exhibition, with the former proposing that he would be reimbursed for the latter’s flight and hotel accommodations. Upon returning to New York, Sorokin said she “forgot” their arrangement.
Artnet News reported that Huang caught on Sorokin’s red flags when he attended her birthday party in 2016. The restaurant which hosted her birthday party contacted him to press for her personal information since she booked the event with an invalid credit card number and false account details.
Since then, Huang had an inkling that Sorokin is a con artist. She finally repaid him using a digital wallet with a different name. However, he didn’t reveal when he was paid back.
However, this marked the end of their friendship—at least for Huang who had Sorokin blocked on social media.
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Anna created fake bank accounts to fund her so-called foundation
Sorokin didn’t succeed in pitching the Anna Delvey Foundation to potential investors. Desperate, she resorted to getting money through alternative ways.
In an unusual turn of events, she created fake bank accounts to show that she owns assets worth €60 million stored in Swiss Banks. The swindling continued when she took several loan applications and overdraft statements—at the promise that she would pay these establishments back.
However, Anna Delvey’s convincing power and newfound influence allowed her to live a life of luxury where she dined in exclusive restaurants, stayed in five-star hotels, and shopped for designer pieces.
But as part of her con, she lived her luxurious life at the expense of people who were forced to fund it. In a damning May 2018 report by journalist Jessica Pressler of New York Magazine, some of her victims include a concierge who goes by “Neff” and unnamed “finance friends.”
Anna’s vacation in Morocco was the beginning of a short-lived end
Two years before her short-lived arrest, Sorokin was spotted on an “all-expenses-paid” vacation in Morocco where she reportedly spent $62,000 (P3.1 million) before her trial in 2019, as per Insider.
After arriving at the La Mamounia Hotel, staff complained they were unable to charge Sorokin’s credit cards. An alternative payment was demanded, and she convinced one of her friends Rachel DeLoache Williams to pay for their stay with the same promise. She would transfer the payment through a wire transfer.
Upon returning to New York, it was discovered that she failed to pay the Beekman Hotel and the W New York Union Square. Both hotels pressed charges against Sorokin for theft.
At that time, she was being investigated by the Manhattan District Attorney's Office for multiple instances of fraud.
Anna is not sorry despite her arrest
Even if Sorokin has been making headlines, she insisted in a soundbite obtained by The New York Times that she feels no remorse for her actions. She even maintained that her plans for the notorious Anna Delvey Foundation—which was not found in the records of authorities—were real.
Sorokin was eventually arrested in October 2017 via a sting operation in Los Angeles, California. However, it wasn’t until April 2019 that a jury found guilty of eight charges including grand larceny.
In May 2019, she was sentenced to four to 12 years in prison and was ordered to pay $199,000 (P10.2 million) to her victims and $24,000 (P1.2 million) to institutions.
She was eventually released from prison in 2021 due to so-called “good behavior.” However, she was arrested in March of the same year for “overstaying her visa.”
She remains in custody and has been appealing to extend her stay. However, she faces deportation back to her home country in Germany.
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Netflix paid Sorokin $320,000 (P16.4 million) to bring her story to life
In an exclusive story by Insider, Netflix reportedly paid Sorokin $320,000 for the rights to bring her story to life. Records also revealed that the fraudster used $199,000 (P10.2 million) to pay her victims and $24,000 to pay back the institutions she scammed. However, the report didn't expand on how the streaming giant reached out to Sorokin.
At that time, Sorokin was granted permission to use her remaining bank accounts to pay off her victims.
On the other hand, Pressler is currently one of Inventing Anna’s producers after accepting the pitch due to the “calmest phone call I’d ever had.”