THE ‘SOCIALITE’ WHO FOOLED NEW YORK
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.’