Fake heiress who swindled banks and hotels faces sentencing
NEW YORK — The day of reckoning has arrived for the German con artist who passed herself off as a wealthy heiress and was convicted of swindling New York banks and hotels out of tens of thousands of dollars.
Anna Sorokin is scheduled to be sentenced Thursday in state court following her conviction last month on multiple counts of grand larceny and theft of services.
Her defense attorney, Todd Spodek, has said Sorokin faces up to 15 years in prison on the most serious charge. She has been in custody since her October 2017 arrest.
Sorokin went by Anna Delvey when she defrauded financial institutions and Manhattan celebrity circles into believing she had a fortune of about $67 million (60 million euros) overseas that could cover her jet-setting lifestyle, high-end clothing and lavish hotel stays. The 28-year-old falsely claimed her father was a diplomat or an oil baron, and falsified bank records and forged her identity to further the scam.
Her ruse included an application for a $22 million loan to fund a private arts club, complete with exhibitions, installations and pop-up shops, prosecutors said. She was denied that loan but persuaded one bank to lend her $100,000 that she failed to repay.
In all, prosecutors accused her of stealing some $275,000, including a $35,400 bill she failed to pay for a plane she chartered to and from the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.
But jurors acquitted her of two counts, including an allegation that she promised a friend an all-expenses paid trip to Morocco and then stuck her with the $62,000 bill. She was also found not guilty of one of the most serious charges in the indictment: attempting to steal more than $1 million from City National Bank.
Manhattan jurors did convict Sorokin of four counts of theft of services, three counts of grand larceny and one count of attempted grand larceny following a monthlong trial that drew international attention and tabloid headlines about Sorkin’s courtroom fashion.
Spodek, the defense attorney, argued that Sorokin had been “buying time” and planned to settle her debts. He said she lacked criminal intent and was an ambitious entrepreneur.