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Crime News

The 'Son of Sam' Law Keeps Scammer Anna Sorokin From Profiting Off Netflix Series

The state of New York invoked the 'Son of Sam' law for the first time in years to prevent Anna Sorokin, who pretended to be a German heiress named Anna Delvey, from profiting off her story.

By Gina Tron
Anna Sorokin

While one might assume that swindler Anna Sorokin has been making money by selling her salacious story as a Netflix series, the so-called Son of Sam law has prohibited her from profiting off her crimes.

Netflix’s new drama series “Inventing Anna,” is based on the life and crimes of Anna Sorokin, and it stars Julia Garner as the now infamous scammer. Sorokin, who is Russian, served four years for masquerading as a German heiress named Anna Delvey between 2013 and 2017. She is now in ICE custody. 

So many people were captivated by Sorokin's brazen scams and subsequent trial, that New York Magazine published a lengthy profile detailing her schemes. That article was then acquired by Shonda Rhimes, the creator of the hit series, Grey's Anatomy, and made into limited series, "Inventing Anna" which stream on Netflix February 11.

But Sorokin won't see a dime from the adaptation. 

Julia Garner Inventing Anna Netflix 1

The state of New York froze Sorokin's funds back in 2019 to prevent her from making money off the Netflix deal, invoking the controversial “Son of Sam” law for the first time since 2001. The rarely used law was established to prevent criminals from profiting from 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, were unfrozen last year so she can pay back her victims.

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 she owed, Insider reported. Sorokin paid another $24,000 from the Netflix money in state fines. She has also agreed to pay $70,000 in restitution to Citibank, Insider reports. She paid back $100,000 to City National Bank, The Wall Street Journal reported in 2020.

During Sorokin’s 2019 trial, a jury convicted her of six counts of felony fraud including second-degree larceny, theft of services and one count of first-degree attempted grand larceny. She was found not guilty of a larceny charge involving Sorokin’s ex-friend and former Vanity Fair photo editor Rachel Williams. After writing a popular 2018 Vanity Fair story, alleging she was duped by the fake heiress, Williams got a book deal with Simon & Schuster to write the 2019 book “My Friend Anna.” That's now the apparent basis for an upcoming HBO project.

While Sorokin was released from prison last year, she was arrested six weeks later by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for overstaying her visa. She is currently in ICE custody. Sorokin has always maintained that she had a legitimate business plan for her project, the Anna Delvey Foundation, and her lawyer has stated that she was merely trying to make ends meet as she navigated the difficult career waters of New York City.