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Anna Sorokin, a con artist who posed as a wealthy heiress to scam her victims out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, is apparently paying back those victims through the money she made selling her story to Netflix.
The Russian-born Sorokin, 30, is currently serving time in a New York prison for masquerading as a German heiress named Anna Delvey, with a supposed $60 million trust fund. She lived an extravagant lifestyle, rubbing elbows with the rich and famous, scamming financial institutions and individuals alike for cash until she was arrested in 2017.
In 2018, Sorokin's wild tale went viral in a feature story in New York Magazine's The Cut titled "How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People." The article is being turned into a Netflix series called "Inventing Anna," starring Julia Garner; it's slated to be released sometime this year. Netflix reportedly paid Sorokin $320,000 for the series, and she has used $199,000 of that money so far to pay restitution to the banks, Insider reports. Sorokin paid another $24,000 from the Netflix money in state fines.
The state of New York froze Sorokin's funds back in 2019 to prevent her from making money off the Netflix deal, invoking the “Son of Sam” law for the first time since 2001. The rarely used law was established to prevent criminals from profiting off their crimes. It was passed in 1977 after serial killer David Berkowitz was offered money for a book about his murder spree.
Sorokin's funds, however, have been unfrozen now so she can pay back her victims.
She has also agreed to pay $70,000 in restitution to Citibank, Insider reports. She has paid back $100,000 to City National Bank, The Wall Street Journal reported in December.
Sorokin’s attorney Audrey A. Thomas told Insider that Sorokin admits she owes the institution money, but she debates the assertion that she stole from them.
“She said, ‘You know, I want them to be paid. I didn’t steal the money, but I do owe money, so I’m not going to fight it. That’s not who I am,'” Thomas said.
Sorokin’s ex-friend and former Vanity Fair photo editor Rachel Williams has also turned her ordeal into a creative endeavor. After writing a popular 2018 Vanity Fair story, alleging she was duped by the fake heiress, she got a book deal with Simon & Schuster to write the 2019 book “My Friend Anna.” That's now the basis for an HBO project.
During Sorokin’s 2019 trial, a jury found her not guilty of a larceny charge involving Williams. She was, however, convicted of six counts of felony fraud including second-degree larceny, theft of services and one count of first-degree attempted grand larceny.
While Sorokin was sentenced to up to 12 years behind bars, she’s expected to be released next year.
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