Where Is Inventing Anna's Rachel Williams Today?

In the late winter and early spring of 2022, Netflix's series "Inventing Anna" was, like "The Tiger King" or "The Queen's Gambit" before it, the talk of the town. The miniseries is based on the true story of Anna Delvey, a woman who pretended to be a wealthy German heiress but was actually the broke daughter of a Russian tradesman, and her name was/is really Anna Sorokin. 

Over a four-year period, Sorokin scammed businesses, hotels, and individuals out of tens of thousands of dollars, promising to pay her bills with nonexistent money that was perpetually on its way. She was later convicted of fraud and did time behind bars, and as of the time of this writing, was facing deportation back to Germany.

One of Delvey/Sorokin's biggest victims, in terms of how much money the "heiress" scammed out of her, was Rachel Williams. The photographer and journalist was taken for over $60,000.

Anna Delvey took Rachel Williams for $62,000

Anna Sorokin's crime spree as Anna Delvey didn't just affect companies — her crimes affected one victim in particular: Rachel Williams. The photographer and journalist met Sorokin through friends in 2015, according to Harper's Bazaar, and almost immediately she was fooled by her "wealthy heiress" schtick. "I saw that she had 40,000 something followers and that gave her a baseline of validity in my mind," Williams said.

In 2017, according to ABC News, Delvey invited Williams and another friend to an "all-expenses-paid" trip to Morocco. However, while overseas, Delvey's credit card "stopped working" and the three women were looking at being on the hook for a $62,000 bill while in a foreign land. Williams stepped up and paid the bill on her credit card, with Sorokin promising to pay it back. Of course, as we know now, Sorokin's promises were always empty platitudes, as Williams found out when she tried to get her "friend" to pay her back. Eventually, Sorokin skipped town, leaving Williams holding the bag.

Williams helped police track down Sorokin

Anna Sorokin might never have been brought to account for her crimes had it not been for Rachel Williams. As Elle reports, after paying the bill for the Morocco trip –- which was more than a year's pay for her at the time -– Williams was in quite a state. "I couldn't sleep. I would wake up in the morning in a panic. I actually couldn't breathe. I hyperventilated a lot," she said. Eventually, she went to the cops. However, by this time, Sorokin had left New York. 

Unfortunately for the "heiress," she continued to lean into her act even after her friend had reported her to the law, and that may have helped lead to her undoing. Specifically, according to Time, Sorokin texted Williams to say she was in Malibu. Over the next few texts, Williams wheedled Sorokin for clues about her whereabouts, and eventually, she led police to the scam artist. 

Sorokin would be put on trial for fraud, found guilty, and ordered to pay restitution. Unfortunately, Anna was not convicted of scamming Williams, nor was she ordered to pay any restitution to her former friend.

Williams' credit card company let her off the hook — mostly

Most banks that issue credit cards these days have systems in place to protect cardholders from fraudulent charges, theft, scams, etc. It's a rather mundane and trivial part of the economic fabric of the United States: if there's chicanery on your credit card, you're probably not going to be on the hook for it.

In Williams' case, however, things were a bit trickier. This wasn't a matter of a thief making fraudulent purchases on her credit card. Rather, this was a case of the cardholder making the charges herself, albeit under slight duress, with the promise of getting paid back. Of course, that's not how it worked out, and Williams was looking at owing over a year's salary to her issuing bank.

Fortunately, her credit card company forgave most of that debt. As ABC News explains, Williams was compelled to pay back "some" of the money she'd spent covering for Sorokin, although how much of it she was on the hook for isn't clear.

Williams is kind of salty about Netflix paying Anna

New York, like some other states, has a law that prevents convicted criminals from profiting from their crimes, even indirectly, such as selling their story rights. In Anna Sorokin's case, as Williams explains it via Air Mail, Sorokin did and didn't profit from Netflix paying her for the rights to her story. Specifically, the grifter was paid $320,000 for the rights, according to Just Jared, but then almost all of it went to paying restitution, legal fees, and various costs. By some estimates, Sorokin will still take home approximately $22,000. 

Williams isn't feeling it. "Because of Netflix, Anna emerged from behind bars financially net positive, with legions of followers and a level of notoriety from which she'll presumably continue to profit," she said, also noting that Sorokin herself hasn't appeared to express any remorse for her crimes. "The con-as-content model seems well on its way to becoming an aspirational career path," Williams wrote.

Rachel Williams is still writing

Like a lot of professional writers, Rachel Williams has changed jobs quite a bit over the course of her career. She was with Vanity Fair when she befriended Sorokin, but was laid off from there in 2019, according to Yahoo Finance. She's also been with Condé Nast, as a photo editor, according to her website, and she's currently working as a freelance writer, photographer, and creative consultant. Similarly, according to a LinkedIn profile bearing her name and image, she's working as a freelancer after having left Vanity Fair.

Williams has also written a book about her experiences with Anna Sorokin/Delvey: "My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress," for which she was paid $300,000, according to Pulse. She also made a development deal with HBO, for which she was paid $35,000; however, according to Marie Claire, that project is currently in "development hell," as they say in the TV and movie industry — meaning, nothing is happening with it. Williams was not involved in the Netflix series.