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Dublin: 8°C Sunday 18 April 2021

Fake heiress who conned New York's elite sentenced to up to 12 years in prison

Ana Sorokin traveled free of charge on private jets and lived for months at luxury hotels without paying the bill.

Image: Steven Hirsch/PA

A GERMAN-RUSSIAN fraudster who tricked New York high society into believing she was a wealthy heiress and stole more than $200,000 (€178,000) has been jailed for up to 12 years.

Anna Sorokin, 28, a Russian truck driver’s daughter who had been living in Germany, reinvented herself as socialite Anna Delvey when she arrived in the US in 2016.

She has been convicted of multiple counts of grand larceny as well as theft of services, having conned banks into granting her loans of tens of thousands of dollars.

Anna Sorokin committed real white-collar felonies over the course of her lengthy masquerade,” District Attorney Cyrus Vance said after her conviction.

New York judge Diane Kiesel handed down a sentence of four to 12 years and ordered Sorokin to pay a fine of $24,000 (€21,000) and restitution of nearly $200,000.

From November 2016 to August 2017, she managed to travel free of charge on private jets and lived for months at luxury Manhattan hotels without paying the bill, according to New York prosecutors.

In one incident, the court heard, she skipped out on an $11,000 tab at The Beekman hotel in Manhattan after a 16-night stay.

According to a first-hand account by a former Vanity Fair photo editor of Sorokin’s financial manipulation, the fake heiress put on an emotional outburst to avoid paying for a 2017 stay at the five-star Moroccan resort La Mamounia.

She also reportedly fleeced aviation company Blade when she reneged on the bill for a $35,000 private jet flight to visit billionaire investor Warren Buffett in Omaha.

As she became more enmeshed in New York’s elite, Sorokin focused on an ambitious project to open an upscale nightclub that doubled as an art gallery.

She tried to borrow $22 million in order to launch it after convincing a powerful promoter to provide a venue on the prestigious Park Avenue.

But it all came crashing down for Sorokin when she was charged in 2017 with stealing “approximately $275,000 through multiple scams.”

At trial, Sorokin’s lawyer Todd Spodek likened her to Frank Sinatra, saying: “In a city that favors money and the appearance of money… they both created their own opportunities.”

“She was creating a business that she believed would work and she was buying time,” he argued.

- With reporting from AFP.

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