The Untold Truth Of Anna Delvey

Anna Delvey, born Anna Sorokin, won headlines around the world after being caught scamming New York's elite out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by pretending to be a German heiress.

However, Anna's beginnings were not quite as glamorous. According to The Cut, she was born in Russia and moved to Germany at 16. Her father worked as a truck driver in a working-class town near the Belgian and Dutch borders. He quickly managed to move up the ranks and even achieved an executive position before the company closed down in 2013. After that, he founded his own heating and cooling business.

His new enterprise was successful enough to fund Anna's tuition at Central Saint Martins College in London — though she ended dropping out before earning her degree and moved back to Berlin to work in a public relations firm. Her parents covered her rent while she was back in Germany's capital, and continued to do so when she earned an internship at the trendy Purple magazine in Paris.

When interviewed after Anna's arrest, her parents said that they had originally funded much of their daughter's lifestyle because they believed it was a good "investment" in her future.

"My parents . . . always trusted me with my decision-making. I guess they regret it now," Anna commented when asked about her familial relationships.

How the story of Anna Delvey began

Though Anna had been on the social scene in Europe for a few years, she emerged on the scene in New York in early 2017, when she checked into the chic 11 Howard Hotel in the trendy Soho neighborhood.

Per The Cut, she immediately made an impression on staff by befriending numerous workers and handing out wildly generous tips. "People would fight to take her packages upstairs," explained Neffatari Davis, who worked as one of the concierges at the time. "Fight, because you knew you were getting $100."

Anna had booked a hotel room for several months, a move generally reserved for celebrities that added to her prestige. Moreover, her generous tipping habit and tendency to treat staff members to expensive meals, private training classes, and other experiences only increased her influence over the passing weeks. "She ran that place," Davis added.

Anna was not only making friends at 11 Howard. She was busy networking all over New York City, making sure to go to popular restaurants, networking at events, and talking about her dream to open a Soho House-like clubhouse for artists. The mystery behind her wealth also added to her mystique. Some people claimed that her family owned an antique furniture empire in Germany. Others thought her father was a Russian diplomat. Davis claimed that Anna said her father was a solar panel magnate.

But there were some clues that all was not right

Despite Anna's supposed wealth, there were some bizarre red flags that struck her friends as odd. For example, she would often ask friends to call her Ubers or ask if they could cover dinner and she would pay them back. Sometimes, she would never pay back those debts. Other times, she would reimburse the lender with triple the money back. Her habits may have created questions, but didn't exactly raise doubts since she ended up paying back most of her expenses, per The Cut.

For example, Davis said that the hotel staff panicked after they realized that Anna's credit card on file did not work and she owed the property around $30,000. Management asked her to pay, and Anna promised a wire transfer was on the way. After several days, the hotel still had not gotten any money and was beginning to consider serious action — until they suddenly received the money from Citibank, covering her expenses in full. Even though she was able to provide $30,000 within a few days, she still refused to give a working credit card for management to have on file, and lingering doubts remained about her financial security, according to The Cut.

The shoe dropped when she left a friend with a $70,000 hotel tab

One of the major tipping points in the Sorokin saga was after a luxury trip to Morocco. As described in a personal essay for Vanity Fair, Rachel Deloache Williams, who worked as a photographer for the magazine, said that Anna had treated her to a holiday trip to Marrakech along with two other friends.

Though the trip had begun happily, it took a turn when the hotel realized Anna's credit card did not work — just like at 11 Howard. The hotel demanded a card, and Rachel was forced to give her own to avoid a serious issue. Anna promised to cover all expenses, but this was just another lie.

"I suddenly understood that she intended to leave the hotel charges on my account, to add that amount to the total she owed me from expenses outside the hotel. The balance was more money than I net annually," Rachel wrote. Rachel soon learned that Anna either owed a lot of people money or had paid back friends only after being threatened with legal action. This sparked Rachel to go to the police.

"I e-mailed the New York County District Attorney's Office, linking to an article about Anna: 'I think this girl is a con artist,' I wrote. An hour later, my cell phone rang," Rachel confessed. "I picked up the phone as I stepped away from my desk. 'We think you're right,' a voice said."

Anna doesn't seem to regret her actions

Though Anna was arrested in 2017 and sentenced to four years in prison, it doesn't seem as if she truly regrets her actions. In fact, she has complained to reporters that the media has only focused on her larceny instead of the "the hundred things I did right" (via The Cut).

Moreover, she was frustrated by what she saw as the press's misrepresentation of her personality. For example, she hated the fact that The New York Post called her a "wannabe-socialite," insisting that she never specifically wanted to be a socialite but simply hosted networking dinners. In addition, she maintained that she was working to build a space for artists and wasn't solely focused on scamming victims from money.

"If I really wanted the money, I would have better and faster ways to get some," she said. "Resilience is hard to come by, but not capital." Upon her recent release from jail in February 2021, she appeared to mock her prison sentence in an Instagram post. "Prison is so exhausting, you wouldn't know," she captioned a photo where she wore sunglasses while relaxing on a plush bed.

Anna is now profiting off of her scams

The final twist in Sorokin saga is that Anna now appears to be profiting off of her crimes. According to the BBC, Anna was paid $320,000 by streaming giant Netflix for the rights to her story for a new mini-series. The project is considered prestigious enough to be placed under the helm of Shonda Rhimes, the show-runner behind mega-hits such as "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal," and "Bridgerton," per a different BBC piece. 

That said, Anna was not able to keep all the money — and the government seized around $170,000 in order to pay off her debts. However, she allegedly has been able to keep the remainder, per the BBC.

It looks like the fake heiress will be using some of those earnings to cover her legal expenses, and her attorney has said that he is working on an appeal. He also noted that it is likely she will soon be deported back to Germany. Other than that, the future of a post-prison Anna Sorokin remains a mystery.