THE ‘SO­CIALITE’ WHO FOOLED NEW YORK

Irish Daily Mail - YOU - - SPECIAL REPORT -

At just 25 years old, Anna Delvey was ev­ery­thing a mil­lion­aire so­cialite should be: de­signer-clad and so gen­er­ous she would leave $100 tips. Home was a bou­tique ho­tel, travel was by pri­vate jet and she held court in the finest restau­rants, where she dined with the city’s movers and shak­ers.

She be­came a fix­ture in New York so­ci­ety in 2016. Her mas­ter­plan was the launch of a high-end mem­bers’ art club, the Anna Delvey Foun­da­tion, that would be homed in a mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar Park Av­enue build­ing be­fore go­ing global.

How­ever, by the end of last year, this mys­te­ri­ous Ger­man heiress was un­masked as Rus­sian-born Anna Sorokin, who went to high school in a work­ing-class town near Cologne. She is now be­ing held on re­mand in New York’s Rik­ers Is­land prison after be­ing charged with six counts of grand lar­ceny and at­tempted grand lar­cency, and one of theft of ser­vices, to­talling around $275,000 (€235,000), which she de­nies. The story of how she hood­winked the rich and pow­er­ful is so ex­tra­or­di­nary that it’s be­ing turned into a Net­flix se­ries.

Her friend, Van­ity Fair photo ed­i­tor Rachel DeLoache Wil­liams, lost $62,000 (€53,000) after Anna in­vited her on an all-ex­penses-paid trip to a lux­ury re­sort in Morocco, then couldn’t pay the bill, re­sult­ing in the ho­tel charg­ing Rachel’s credit card. Anna al­legedly promised to re­im­burse her but only re­paid $5,000. ‘The world was charmed when she was around – the nor­mal rules didn’t seem to ap­ply,’ Rachel wrote in Van­ity Fair. With no sign of the money, Rachel be­gan to ‘un­ravel’. She re­ported Anna to the New York County Dis­trict At­tor­ney’s Of­fice and dis­cov­ered that Sorokin was the sub­ject of an on­go­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

Rachel says that she was blinded by de­sire to see the best in Anna. ‘This op­ti­mism was one of my defin­ing char­ac­ter­is­tics, an Achilles heel,’ she wrote. ‘It’s what al­lowed me to be­friend Anna in the first place: a wil­ful sus­pen­sion of judg­ment, an earnest fil­tra­tion that looked for the best in oth­ers and ex­cused the worst.’

Anna’s wealth was smoke and mir­rors. But, as mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor Tommy Saleh told New York mag­a­zine: ‘There are so many trust-fund kids run­ning around. Ev­ery­one is your best friend, and you don’t know a thing about any­one.’

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