A fake German heiress has been convicted of multiple fraud charges after conning banks, hotels and friends to fund an implausibly lavish New York lifestyle.
A Manhattan jury found Anna Sorokin guilty of eight charges, including four counts of theft and attempted grand larceny for seeking a $22m (£17m) loan from a bank.
The 28-year-old Russian-German posed for nearly a year as a Manhattan socialite named Anna Delvey and her scheme became known as the “summer of scam” in 2018 articles published in Vanity Fair and New York magazine.
Following the month-long trial, her defence lawyer, Todd Spodek, said Sorokin faced up to 15 years in prison when she is sentenced on 9 May.
She also faces deportation to Germany because authorities say she overstayed her visa.
Prosecutors portrayed Sorokin as a profligate con artist, while her lawyer tried to convince the jury she was an aspiring businesswoman in awe of New York’s extravagance.
Using the name Anna Delvey, she is said to have deceived friends and financial institutions into believing she had a fortune of around $67m (£52m) overseas that would cover her high-end clothing, luxury hotel stays and trans-Atlantic travel.
Prosecutors also accused Sorokin of promising a friend an all-expenses trip to Morocco before leaving her to pay a $62,000 (£48,057) bill, as well as forging financial records in an application for a $22m (£17m) loan to fund a private arts club she wanted to build.
She was denied the loan but persuaded one bank to lend her $100,000 (£77,512), which she failed to repay.
Mr Spodek said his client had been “buying time” and planned to settle her six-figure debts. He portrayed her as an ambitious entrepreneur and compared her to Frank Sinatra, claiming “they both created their own opportunities” in New York.
“There’s a little bit of Anna in all of us. This is the life she chose to live,” he said.
He said Sorokin was “upset” by the verdict, adding he was pleased that she had been acquitted of one of the most serious charges – attempting to steal more than £1m from City National Bank.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R Vance Jr thanked prosecutors and investigators in the case which meant Sorokin “faces real justice for her many thefts and lies”.
He said: “As proven at trial, Anna Sorokin committed real white-collar felonies over the course of her lengthy masquerade”.
Source: SKY NEWS