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Anna Delvey: Is it Illegal to Act Rich?

Anna Delvey: Is it Illegal to Act Rich?

In light of the newest Netflix docu-drama, many Americans are getting reacquainted with a figure from the past or meeting her for the first time. Anna Sorokin, who went by the alias Anna Delvey, was a 20 something who faked her way through the NYC social scene with ease until she was arrested and held at the Rikers Island jail complex to await trial since 2017.

Her story is a fascinating one, but it also begs the question, is acting rich a crime?

Enter: The Socialite

Anyone who was anyone in the early aughts and 2010s knew one thing for sure: new money was out, and old money was in and the best way to stay on top was connections. In general, the upper classes have an extensive network of connections that is occasionally mildly incestuous and entirely elite.

For the rest of us, it is hard to not envy the lives of the rich and famous, but we know that there are barriers to that kind of wealth many of us cannot overcome like generational wealth. However, one woman in particular decided to bridge the gap and enter the sparkling world of the New York elite.

From Sorokin to Delvey

Anna Sorokin was born in Russia but grew up in Germany as the daughter of a failed executive and conservative mother. She left her home to study fashion in Paris where she changed her name from Anna Sorokin to Anna Delvey.

At first, the name change was simply a way to separate herself from her humble beginnings, but eventually, it would be the foundation of her empire built upon sand. Before that however, she turned from fashion to art and from Paris to New York in search of a more exciting life.

Anna had worked her way up in the fashion world to the point that she worked for Purple, a fashion magazine, and was by all accounts, an industrious young woman with lots of ambition. Ambition is not a crime, but grifting can be and the switch from striver to grifter is what landed Sorokin in Rikers.

New York, NY

Sorokin, or Delvey’s problems began when she started to appear more ostentatiously with every appearance. She went from renting a modest apartment in Paris to staying at lavish boutique hotels, tipping hospitality staff with $100 bills, and covering herself in designer clothes from head to toe. Anna became the personification of “rich” and made sure everyone around her knew it.

She began pitching expensive business ideas around town and made some crucial connections along the way. From hoteliers to architects, Delvey was rubbing elbows with New York’s finest, and was a staple at most celebrity gatherings.

Things took a sharp turn when Delvey began to feel pressure to pay for her lavish lifestyle. She had promised to wire money to countless people and was even accused of stealing over $60,000 from a friend for a trip to Marrakesh.

Toward the end of her reign as a NYC socialite extraordinaire, Anna owed countless hotels, banks, and famous friends hundreds of thousands of dollars. Some in her circle were grifters as well, but none of them could hold a candle to Delvey’s swindling ways.

Anna is remarkable because of her ability to convince so many people that she was not just a mysterious heiress from abroad, but one of the elites – to the rich and famous, she was “like them.” However, as things fell apart, it became clear that Anna had little love for her famous friends. Witnesses who testified against her say that she was only in the relationship for money and little else.

Whether Anna’s friendship was genuine or false, the court found her crimes to be very real. The court found her guilty of larceny and theft and she has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

Larceny vs. Theft

Theft is an umbrella term for a whole class of crimes involving money. Larceny is a general category under theft that involves stealing personal property that is tangible and can be carried away as opposed to intangible assets like equity or investments.

Anna Sorokin’s story shows that it is possible to talk the talk, but without generational wealth or a massive cash flow, the truth will find you out.

On a serious note, it is important to recognize that while Sorokin’s case is captivating, countless people lose their livelihoods and futures because of criminal accusations of fraud and larceny. If you have been charged with a crime, contact The Draskovich Law Group.


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