Anna Delvey’s Story: How She Tricked Manhattan’s Elite, Pretending To Be A Wealthy German Heiress | fashion

the premiere of Invent Anna, the series of Shonda Rhimes for Netflix, surprised Anna Delvey, who is actually called Anna Sorokin, in prison. Or, more specifically, at ICE, a migrant detention center where she is being held for trying to stay in the United States on an expired visa. Before that, she went through up to five prisons to serve her sentence for fraud and non-payment. One of these centers was the notorious macro-prison of the Rikers in New Jersey, the one that appears in the series. “You’re wearing a blue jumpsuit,” the visiting reporter reminds him, after Delvey tells him his clothes are horrible. “Yeah,” she replies, “but I’ve had it ironed and I’m accessorizing it.”

Although the series is not 100% faithful to reality, this dialogue is very similar to those that Delvey had with journalists, and which contributed to his legend. At the end of his trial, he told an editor of the New York Times“The thing is… I don’t regret it”. And when a BBC reporter asked him if “the crime is worth it” (crime pays, in English) she answered yes, literally. She was referring to the fact that Netflix paid her $320,000 to tell her story. Of these, she spent about 200,000 to pay off the debts she had incurred and the rest went to pay her lawyers.

In financial terms, Delvey is perhaps the least ambitious of the entire group of millennial hustlers that has emerged over the past decade and is now flooding commercial fiction. Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos (soon there will be not one but two projects with her story, which will be added to the docuseries and podcasts that already exist about her: Amanda Seyfried will play her in a series and Jennifer Lawrence in a movie) threw a lot more money at its high-flying investors with its nothing-based unicorn company; Rebekah Neumann has already been losing $100 million a week at WeWork, the company she co-founded with her husband, Adam Neumann. Her story will be told on HBO with the faces of Anne Hathaway and Jared Leto.

Compared to these high-flying scams, the Delvey affair seems almost modest, but its story dazzles with the environment in which it occurred, that of the media and the industry of influence in New York – the public enjoys seeing how the hair of supposedly sophisticated people is taken – and also partly because of the huge syncomplexism of Delvey herself, her reinforced concrete face and her limitless resources for lies. It should be remembered that even during the trial she had to face in 2019, she took the opportunity to continue her tireless self-promotion. She hired a stylist, Anastasia Walker, to coordinate the looks she wore to court and together they opened a dedicated Instagram to advertise them, @annadelveycourtlooks. Many of them are meticulously recreated in the Netflix series: Michael Kors’ black dress, Victoria Beckham’s trouser ensemble with a Saint Laurent blouse and Céline glasses. Delvey made sure to make spectacular entrances for her fans and for the many media covering the trial, much to the chagrin of the judge handling the case, that she lost patience with the show.

Delvey was tried (and sentenced to 12 years in prison, of which she served four) for defrauding about $200,000 (176,000 euros) from various hotels she was staying at without paying, a private airline and other creditors , but in reality he was left at the gates of his most ambitious project: to obtain an investment fund to give him 25 million dollars to set up a private club, in the style of Soho House but linked to the world of art, which was going to have locations in Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Dubai and Manhattan, and which he planned to call, in all modesty, the Anna Delvey Foundation. He needed very little to achieve this. His modus operandi it was a universal bullshit classic. To get people to give you money, you need to look like you already have it. The scam involves a certain investment: it moved around Manhattan distributing hundred-dollar bills. At 11 Howard, the luxurious boutique hotel where he stayed for months (and left without paying), all the employees fought to be the one to carry Anna’s packages, because they knew they were leaving with a hundred silver dollars. point.

Delvey (she insists it was her mother’s maiden name; her parents deny it) arrived in New York in 2016 with no schooling, friends or money. The only known past of her was an internship at the magazine Mauve in Paris. There he made his first major contact, the magazine’s editor, Oliver Zahm, the kind of guy who was ubiquitous at parties a decade ago and inhabited those international VIP waters that make up Coachella, Art Basel, Ibiza , Frieze, the Soho Houses that are scattered around the world and no more than fifteen or twenty restaurants in London, New York and Los Angeles. So he started infiltrating the scene, doing weird things but no one was going to report him for (yet). She proposed to a collector to take her to the Venice Biennale and once there she forgot to pay him the 3,000 euros that the trip cost, she asked them to pay her for the taxis she had forgotten to return, she left unpaid bills, she settled in houses of acquaintances without spending a single euro. Let’s say that Anna never found the time to do business. She told everyone she was the daughter of a German businessman. That’s how she knew her: the German heiress. In fact, Sorokin was born in Russia and her parents are a truck driver who went bankrupt starting a transport company and a housewife who once ran a grocery store.

One of the promotion’s key contacts was Gabriel Calatrava, son of architect Santiago Calatrava and manager of the family’s real estate holding company, who showed him a space of more than 4,000 square meters on Park Avenue that would be perfect for his foundation. . He told everyone (the hotelier André Balazs, for example, or the owner of the Nobu restaurants, with whom he wanted to do business) that when he was 25, he could have his trust fund, but that until then he needed cash.

The scammer has also drawn into his adventure people who are more vulnerable than these investors, in particular young women fascinated by his way of life, such as the receptionist at the 11Howard hotel. Another such girl, Rachel Williams, who appears telling her story in the episode of the HBO series Generation Hustlers dedicated to Delvey, it accompanies him to Morocco on a journey that will determine the end of the escapade. Inspired by Kim Kardashian’s Instagram, Delvey booked a private riad inside La Mamounia, Marrakech’s ultra-luxury hotel, ordered massages and spa services, and refreshed her wardrobe at the hotel shop. The account amounted to 60,000 euros. As usual, his credit card declined payment. So Williams paid the bill with the credit card. vanity lounge, the magazine where she worked as a photo editor. Delvey promised she would refund him instantly, but weeks passed and the transfer never came.

When he returns from his trip, he changes hotels in Manhattan. He went to Beekman, also very luxurious, in which he quickly accumulated a debt of around 10,000 euros. They had less patience there than at Howard. After 20 days, her room was turned down and she was kicked out, leaving Delvey homeless in Alexander Wang tights. Meanwhile, all her attempts to deposit bogus checks and wire transfers from non-existent accounts were failing, and already dogged by several complaints from hotels, she made one last attempt to put some ground in the middle by fleeing to California. She has always enjoyed spending summers in Europe, fall and spring in New York, and winters in Los Angeles. They arrested her there, at the door of the Passages club.

Thus ended a single chapter of its history. Now, of course, he has plans. In the small cell he occupies at the ICE establishment, he explained this very week to the New York Timeshimself dedicated to reading (it’s over Freedom and Purity, by Jonathan Franzen), in an attempt to mount a legal defense to prevent his deportation and plans to produce a documentary and, of course, a podcast, telling his version of events. “I’m not trying to encourage people to commit crimes, I just want to shed some light on how I did the best I could with my situation without trying to glorify it,” he says. . Moreover, I regret that there are no good social immersion systems for fraudsters in the United States: “There are programs for drug addicts and for sex offenders, programs for violent inmates… but there is absolutely nothing for financial crimes. I did a cooking class. This already tells you something about the system.

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