A mysterious woman, Anna Delvey, was a New York socialite that everyone had heard rumors about. If you were to ask her “friends” where she came from, some people would shrug their shoulders and others would call out random countries and cities, none of the answers ever matching up. She appeared at the most exclusive events with the most influential people. It was all about the luxury life for Anna until people realized something strange about her behavior…
Who was this mysterious girl?
Looking at Anna, it was apparent that she came from money. Anna carried herself like someone who had a lot of power and money as she always wore designer clothing. Everyone was interested in Anna because her existence was shrouded in mystery. If you were to ask her “friends” where she came from, most would shrug their shoulders and recall that she was an heiress…
None of the answers ever matched up. She was living a life we could only dream of, which was why no one was able to see the truth lurking underneath all her money and popularity. Anna managed to scam everyone for years. But, how did she do it?
Anna’s scamming career began at 11 Howard Hotel
The beginning of Anna’s story truly starts in a hotel called 11 Howard Street in New York City. Anna was no fool, and she knew that this SoHo location was a popular hangout for actors, models, athletes, and socialites. It was here that Anna learned that attitude and confidence are everything. She figured that if she acted as though she was one of the high-end clientele, the hotel wouldn’t question her.
For Anna, her location and her inner circle would be the two most critical stepping stones necessary to make a name for herself. Her first order of business? Making friends in the right places. And so began the friendship of Anna Delvey and Neffatari Davis, otherwise known as Neff, a concierge and aspiring cinematographer.
“Hey big spendahhh”
Being a worldly gal, Anna knew the deal when it came to staying in fancy hotels. She knew that tipping with big bills would open doors for her when it came to getting in cahoots with the staff. Anna had been staying in a room that cost her $400 a night, and without blinking, Anna would pay the fee and continue to tip the staff in $100 bills.
Anna would make a point to ask Neff for recommendations around the city, but Neff noted that it didn’t seem like Anna actually heeded the advice.
Neff noticed that Anna had already checked out the main parts of the city and had become familiar with regular customers and employees. Could Anna be striking up conversations with her simply because she wanted to? That’s what it was beginning to seem like.
When Anna met Neff
Anna would take Neff to clubs, bars, and restaurants (and always tipped big and paid in cash). She would find ways to start conversations with people who seemed like they would be an excellent addition to her social circle. Anna would also spend an obscene amount of money on ridiculous things wherever she went.
It was reported that she hired a personal trainer for $4,500, and it became evident that money was no issue to Anna, and she was extremely generous with it. Those around her never thought to question where she was getting all this cash from as they were reaping the benefits of hanging out with a supposed “heiress.”
Anna had a way with people that got her VIP access to everything
If there was one solid truth to be spoken about Anna, it was that she knew how to work people, and she knew how to win them over. She had a particular way of making influential people feel like they could trust her, and she was quite aware of this superpower. Anna had big plans in mind, and she was going to make Neff a part of it.
She was working on creating a business plan that could be compared to the one behind SoHo House. Only the best of the best were allowed entry, and if you weren’t “on the list,” you weren’t allowed in. Neff was Anna’s right-hand gal, setting up business lunches and dinners for Anna at top-notch locations.
All the while, when Anna pulled out her wallet, she was always pulling out cash.
Anna outgrew the elites and became an A-lister without even trying
Anna began to outgrow the constricting walls of the “elite” and she started to find a home among celebrities and A-listers. She became a jet-setter, taking private jets to parties hosted across the globe, wearing the newest of trends. She was a staple rich girl, a stereotype that no one bothered questioning.
Among Anna’s important friends was Michael Xufu Huang, a thriving art collector and museum founder, and the two became quickly became close. It was Michael who noticed that some of Anna’s behavior was very out of the ordinary and suspicious.
It was when she made friends with Michael Xufu Huang that Anna’s lies began to unravel.
It was Anna’s friendship with Michael Xufu Huang that sparked her downfall
The two “best friends” traveled across the globe to Italy to celebrate the Venice Biennale, with Anna making strange requests of her new friend. She asked if Michael would put the flight and hotel on his credit card, with the promise that she would pay him back. Michael didn’t think much of it at the time, but the requests grew stranger, and he grew more suspicious.
Michael realized while in Italy that Anna paid for EVERYTHING in cash, and he never saw signs of a debit or credit card.
Of course, he forgot about the ordeal until it was time for Anna to pay Michael back. When the time came for Anna to fork over the money, she pretended to forget all about it. Michael, who often spent time around the super-wealthy figured that this was just a trait that came with all rich people. When you’re rich, you can usually forget about minor things such as a few thousand dollars that you owe a friend. He brushed it off, eventually forgetting himself.
Anna hired a PR firm to handle her birthday party, because why not?
For Anna’s birthday bash, the bigger, the better! She wanted it so memorable that she hired a PR firm to handle everything from the guest list to the venue. One of the lucky partygoers was Michael, who she still hadn’t paid back for the travel costs. The party turned out to be a huge success, and everything seemed to go by without a hitch.
After the party, the restaurant reached out to Michael after seeing photos of him and Anna together on his social media. The message asked him for Anna Delvey’s contact information.
He told The Cut, “They were like, ‘Do you have her contact info? Because she didn’t pay her bill.’ Then I realized, Oh my God, she is not legit.”
And so began Michael’s personal investigation into “Anna Delvey”
Michael launched a personal investigation into the life of his “friend,” and began looking for clues that could point him in the right direction. He began asking mutual friends what they knew about Anna, and it seemed that everyone had a different explanation for her origin and her money.
As Michael continued looking into Anna, Anna was incredibly busy trying to establish her art club named “The Anna Delvey Foundation.” She hired Mac Kremers, a creative director from London, to assist her in making the foundation a reality. She was hoping that the foundation would be a “dynamic visual arts center” and would feature different pop-up displays from various artists.
Anna had BIG plans for her new business that would never take flight
Before she knew it, Anna was meeting with big names such as the founders of Nobu and the owner of 11 Howard to help get her foundation up and running as soon as possible. Her goal for the building was to include three restaurants, a juice bar, two floors of hotel rooms, and a German bakery.
Richie Notar, one of the founders of Nobu, claimed that “apparently her family was prominent in Germany and were funding this big project for her.” In her pitch, Anna claimed she was a lifelong art collector and she created an 80-page brochure that she intended to supply potential investors with.
Anna enlisted the help of “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli
For Anna to make her newest venture a reality, she needed money and a lot of it. She teamed up with an anonymous partner on the project, telling them that she had plenty of money but didn’t have access to it. She said that because her trust was located outside the United States, she wasn’t granted access.
Anna teamed up with Martin Shkreli (AKA ‘Pharma bro’) whom she met during one of her extravagant parties. After the entire ordeal, Shkreli would speak publicly about Anna, claiming she learned most of her tricks from him. Shkreli would go on to make a name for himself in the media after he was convicted of securities fraud.
Scamming lawyers and big businesses? No problem!
Although the future of her foundation seemed daunting, Anna continued to push but kept running into significant problems. Neff claims that “she was always on the phone with lawyers. They were always toning her down. Like, ‘Anna, you’re trying to make something that’s worth this much be worth that much, and that’s just not how it works.’”
Although Anna had successfully scammed restaurants and clubs, she was now dealing with bigger roadblocks — namely, lawyers and investors. While her foundation was being built, Anna began panicking upon the realization that her cash flow was starting to dry up. She had to think of something, and fast.
Anna’s lack of credit cards raised some red flags
Neff recalls one night where she and Anna went out to dinner by themselves (which was abnormal as Anna always needed to be surrounded by a group of people). Embarrassingly enough, Anna’s card was declined at the end of the meal. When it was revealed that the card had declined, she gave the waiter her phone that had a list of credit card numbers to try.
Not a single number worked.
After these events, Neff’s manager gave her a call to discuss an issue he had uncovered. He was concerned that there was no credit card on file for a Miss Anna Delvey. When Anna had first arrived at the hotel, they had accepted a wire transfer since they were so new, but now that 11 Howard had established itself, it was crucial they have a card on file.
Anna’s method of dealing with debt was to just go somewhere else
The hotel’s manager put Neff in charge of the issue, seeing as the two were close friends. It was eventually revealed that Anna owed the hotel $30,000 overall. Neff, who believed this wouldn’t be a problem for Anna, quietly took her aside the next day and explained the situation to her. Neff remembers that Anna (in typical heiress fashion) gave her a slick smile and said that a wire transfer would be on the way soon.
Anna stood by her promise, and the hotel received a wire transfer for $30,000. Anna believed that this would be the end of her issues, but there was still a small problem with her payment. Regardless of whether or not she was able to pay the bill, the hotel still needed a working credit card on file for her. They threatened to lock her out of the room if they could not receive a number soon.
Anna’s trip to Morocco would be her last hurrah
Outraged and insulted, Anna took the sleazy advice that she received from dear friend, Martin Shkreli. She threatened to purchase web domains in all of the hotel managers names, which would result in them all eventually owing her money. She then topped off her slew of insults by telling them she was moving out.
While looking for a new home, she decided to take a trip to Morocco, where she intended to film a behind-the-scenes documentary about the progress of her foundation. The trip to Morocco turned out to be a bust, however, as her personal trainer had to return home due to food poisoning.
When Anna returned, all hell broke loose.
She hustled thousands of dollars from close friends and other wealthy acquaintances
Anna’s trainer received a hysterical phone call from Anna upon returning. Anna was at the Four Seasons in Casablanca, and she was having a meltdown. None of her cards were going through, and the hotel was threatening to call the police.
Her trainer, feeling horribly for her client that had become her good friend, gave the hotel her credit card number. Unfortunately, her card didn’t go through either. Taking it a step further, the trainer called a friend, Rachel Williams, and asked her to give the hotel her credit card number. Once more, the card didn’t go through. The hotel then apologized, saying that the issue had most likely been on their end all along.
You didn’t expect Anna to pay the bill for Morocco, did you?
The bill for Morocco ended up being paid, and the bill fell to Rachel Williams. When the hotel threatened jail time, she put down the full $62,000 on her American Express card, which was more money than she was making yearly. Anna’s trainer was absolutely furious when she found out. She now knew that Anna most likely wasn’t who she said she was and they were all caught in the middle of a scam.
Anna’s trainer (who had been housing Anna) tried to kick her to the curb, and she left, leaving her laptop behind. Not wanting to see Anna, her trainer left it at the front desk for her now ex-boss to collect. When Anna appeared at the hotel lobby, she refused to go, telling the front desk that she NEEDED to meet with her trainer.
Eventually, Anna Delvey was blacklisted from almost every location
The rumors of Anna’s inability to pay bills traveled, and she was soon blacklisted from almost every hotel in the city. She even went as far as to ask her lawyer if he could house her for a bit. He refused, but reached out to her trainer, asking her if she would be able to let Anna stay with her. Her trainer quickly declined, and instead set up an intervention to be held for Anna at a nearby restaurant.
Waiting for Anna would be her trainer and all the other people that she owed money to. The intervention was a tough one, but it was necessary for them to get their point across. Anna sobbed and said that she would soon have enough money to pay everyone back after she signed the new lease for her foundation.
Sorry Anna, better luck next time!
The trainer, with only shreds of patience, left blurted out, “Anna. The building has been rented.” Anna’s trainer immediately whipped out her phone to show her the headline which read, “FOTOGRAFISKA SIGNS A LEASE FOR ENTIRE 45K SF AT ABY ROSEN’S BUILDING.” Anna’s response was not surprising. “That’s fake news,” she said, casually.
Despite her nonchalant reaction, Anna’s luck was changing. It was from there that Anna fell from her high horse with no chance of recovering this time. At the same speed she rose to New York City’s “it” crowd, she fell, hard. This time, Anna could NOT talk her way out of her impending doom.
Where did she really come from?
Born in Russia in 1991, Anna Delvey, originally Anna Sorokin, moved with her family to Germany at the age of 16. These days, she spends all of her time in a tiny jail cell, but there was once a time where she had the world at her fingertips, an opportunity she took advantage of.
She was given the chance to move to London to study at the Central Saint Martins Fashion School and intern at Purple magazine, a very prestigious publication. After doing some traveling, it was in Paris that Anna first had a taste of life at the top, and it was there that she vowed to stay at the top no matter the cost.
Nobody was sure where Anna Delvey came from, but who cares?
As mentioned, nobody could accurately pinpoint where Anna was from and what she did. People began to assume that she was an international heiress due to her European accent and her never-ending cash flow. In New York, there are many instances of “trust fund babies” and wealthy individuals, so Anna fit right in.
As far as anyone was concerned, Anna was not suspicious in any way, and who needs an explanation when you’re getting free meals and drinks?
Once Anna had established the necessary connections, she began throwing dinner parties at some of the most expensive and elite restaurants in the city. Anna didn’t have to speak, because her money spoke for her. She didn’t have to try very hard to attract the kinds of people she wanted around her.
Anna Delvey, New Yorker, socialite, and con artist?
In New York City, news travels fast, and there were articles already published about Anna Delvey, claiming that she was a ‘wannabe socialite.’ Naturally, Anna did NOT pleasantly react to these articles. Rachel, who still hadn’t received her money from Anna, decided to email the New York District Attorney’s Office.
Included in her email was the article about Anna along with the words “I think this woman is a con artist.” Rachel soon received a call from the office personally, where they responded to her email, saying, “we think you’re right.” Not long after that, Anna was on their radar and she would soon be facing the repercussions of her extravagant and deceptive lifestyle.
Wannabe socialite busted
The headline on the day Anna was arrested read, “WANNABE SOCIALITE BUSTED FOR SKIPPING OUT ON PRICEY HOTEL BILLS.” Of course, Anna moved fast to find a lawyer and was able to get out on bail. Afterward, Anna decided to brush it off and continue business as usual. Anna didn’t waste any time getting back into her spending habits.
Anna gathered the funds to take a trip to California, where she was arrested once more in Malibu. She returned to New York where she came face-to-face with “six counts of grand larceny and attempted grand larceny, in addition to theft of services.”
Bye Anna, enjoy prison!
Anna was quickly sent to Rikers Island Jail, this time without bail. Surprise, surprise, Anna was not a German heiress. Her real name was Anna Sorokin, she came from a humble, working-class family, and she was facing 15 years in prison. However, Anna still attempted to use her silver tongue to get herself out of paying for her crimes.
She tried to offer the judge a plea deal of one to three years, an offer that was swiftly rejected. The judge attempted to offer Anna an arrangement of three to nine years, which Anna refused. Instead, she elected to go to trial, with the possibility that she might regret not taking the judge’s deal.
Now holding auditions to play the part of Anna Delvey
Justice Diane Kiesel stated that Anna has shown absolutely no remorse for her actions, and her request for one to three years is proof that she does not understand the severity of her actions. Anna has since been sitting in prison, awaiting her trial. During the wait, it was announced that there will be a Netflix series based on her antics.
Hilariously, one of the judges on the case claimed that Anna is likely more intrigued by who will be playing her in the series, instead of her own trial (she wants Margot Robbie or Jennifer Lawrence FYI). In regards to her new home in a prison cell? Anna has said, “This place is not that bad at all, actually. People seem to think it’s horrible, but I see it as like, this sociological experiment.”
Her lawyer claims that Anna is actually doing well in prison, whatever that means.
Anna’s a “unicorn” in prison these days
According to Anna’s lawyer, “she is like a unicorn in there.” It is reported that she “made friends” in prison, and is intrigued by the murderers that are in there with her. She says she enjoys studying the people around her in the cells. Anna is reported to have said, “this one girl, she’s been stealing other people’s identities. I didn’t realize it was so easy.”
Well, it sounds to me like Anna is actually having, dare I say, “fun” behind bars?
Regardless, as the audience of this entire facade, we’re still left with a few questions…HOW did Anna do it? How did she manage to swindle ALL of New York City? Is it true that appearances are really everything, or was Anna just a particular case?
Scam level = expert
Those who have been following Anna’s case believe that, overall, she scammed about $275,000. She used false documents to receive loans from different banks which showed that she had millions of dollars in a European bank. It was also discovered that she floated bad checks between banks and took out lines of credit that she knew she wouldn’t pay back.
It is assumed that she planned to keep the shenanigans up while her business was taking off. Unfortunately for Anna, she was caught before her company could become a reality. The way Anna lived her life promised that she would lead a life of luxury, but it was also inevitable that she would be found out.
Like her story? You can write a letter and tell her!
Anna, reveling in her current fame, has taken to Instagram since her imprisonment on Rikers Island. Although it is likely NOT her posting, she is pushing for her followers to write to her in jail. She has even shared her mailing address in a post on the social media platform.
With thousands and thousands of followers, it is likely that she will receive letters from people who are fans of her “summer of scam.” It seems that Anna is still making headlines, even from the confines of her prison cell, as her last appearance in court started quite a riot across different news sites and social media platforms.
Anna Sorokin is now a fashion icon
On March 27, 2019, Anna Sorokin appeared in court wearing a designer dress, a black choker, and oversized glasses. This made headlines because it seems as though Anna is still trying to give the appearance of a German heiress, even though she is 100% not. It was revealed that her defense team has hired professional stylist Anastasia Walker to dress her during the trial.
In an email from Anna’s criminal defense attorney, Todd Spodek to GQ, he explained that “It is imperative that Anna dress appropriately for the trial. Anna’s style was a driving force in her business and life, and it is a part of who she is. I want the jury to see that side of her and enlisted a stylist to assist in selecting the appropriate outfits for trial.”
Social media might make you become a scammer
So far, some of the words from the trial have made everyone in New York want to hire Todd Spodek. Some already famous words of his have been, “there’s a little bit of Anna in everyone. Everyone lies a little.” He began his defense by referencing Frank Sinatra’s, New York, New York.
He said that the idea of “making a brand new start of it, resonates with people all over the world” who can identify with Anna’s need to reinvent herself as an heiress in the Big Apple. Spodek mentioned how social media comes into play when it comes to millennials, and how they feel the need to pretend.
He referenced the motto “fake it until you make it,” which Anna obviously took to extreme heights.
Breaking News: We have reached a verdict…
After a month in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, Anna was found guilty on several counts. When “fake it until you make it” turns into fraud, it’s safe to say you took it too far. She was found guilty of second-degree grand larceny, theft of services, and one count of first-degree attempted grand larceny. She was sentenced to 15 years in prison.
Since Anna is a German citizen who overstayed her visa, she was at risk of being deported. Rachael Yong Yow of ICE reported that they planned to send her back to Germany as soon as the court proceedings concluded. Now that she was found guilty, she has to serve her time in United States prison and will be deported following time-served.
An app called Blade which is dubbed as “the uber for helicopters” has recently been a favorite of the rich and the famous. Kathleen McCormack, the former CFO of Blade, testified in early April claiming that the company allowed Delvey to travel on a flight to Omaha, Nebraska at the cost of $35,000.
Delvey was not expected to pay the hefty fee up front because she was considered a trustworthy patron of McCormack’s. Although Delvey had never used the app before McCormack said, “our CEO [Rob Wiesenthal] had briefly socially run into her, and him knowing her through those circles, we felt she was good for payment so we booked her for the flight.”
Still no payment
After a month, Blade had still not received a payment from Anna, and McCormack was determined to figure out what was going on. When McCormack testified in court, she presented emails between her and Delvey, where McCormack demanded that Delvey settle her bill. Like usual, Delvey would say that the money was on its way and that the delay was due to her being locked out of her Gmail account.
Rob Wiesenthal threatened to get legal forces involved after a wire transfer that was received in June turned out to be fake. Todd Spodek, Delvey’s attorney, fired back, “Have you ever gone to a restaurant and gotten full-service treatment and said, ‘I’ll pay you later?’ Of course not, it doesn’t work like that. I’m not sure how Blade was operating to be able to say, ‘OK, $35,000? No Problem. Pay us at some later point.'”
Todd Spodek continued to fire back at Blade, saying that the only reason they allowed her to take the flight in the first place was because they believed she was some kind of heiress. He followed up with, “They believed she was some trendsetter who was gonna Instagram it up. And they gave her the plane.”
McCormack verified that the company did not give free flights to “influencers,” as it was against the company’s policy. Regardless, this small hiccup with Blade was only a small part of the larger picture, where Delvey now faces 15 years in prison for her multitude of crimes. They are only one of the many companies that are fighting back against this mega-scammer.
The obsession with scammers
Delvey’s case has captured attention from socialites to media, to fashion magazines. The public is absolutely fascinated with her as she seems to be maintaining her image even from the courts. She threw the media for a loop when she appeared in court the first time wearing a low-cut Miu Miu dress.
Anna Delvey’s sudden leap to fame also has to do with the public’s sudden obsession with scammers, frauds, and con-artists. Todd Spodek made the excuse that, “Irrespective of many of the negative things she may have done, that is a rare skill, and it is a skill that lots of people we adore have, from Steven Spielberg to Bill Gates to Steve Jobs — all of these people who through their own ingenuity make something happen out of nothing.”
The mysterious Instagram
Since going to jail in May 2019, it would seem obvious that Anna would be denied access to her phone. However, a cryptic image posted to the infamous scammer’s Instagram has left social media users scratching their heads. The image depicts a figure in all black, carrying a blonde-haired figure. Accompanying the figures are the words “but I’m too pretty to go to jail!”
A quick peek through the comments tells us that Miss Delvey has acquired quite a lot of groupies since she was sentenced to the big house over a year ago. The mysterious social media poster, however, has remained silent. Is it possible that the queen of scams has found a way to scam herself back online? The mystery remains.
Same, but different
We recently saw the obsession that stemmed from Billy McFarland, one of the now most famous fraudsters in history. McFarland swindled investors out of millions of dollars with the idea that he would create a festival made for the elite. Fyre Festival was meant to be a luxury music festival that would be an experience unlike any other.
When the event occurred, there were serious problems with security, food, understaffing, accommodations, etc. McFarland and Ja-Rule, a co-conspirator, were sued for $100 million on behalf of festival goers. McFarland pled guilty to two counts of wire fraud and was sentenced to six years in federal prison.
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