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Was Anna Sorokin Really Friends With Martin Shkreli And Billy McFarland?

Was notorious scammer Anna Sorokin pals with Pharma Bro Martin Shkreli and Fyre Fest's Billy McFarland? 

By Gina Tron
Anna Sorokin

Netflix’s new drama series “Inventing Anna,” which is based on the life and crimes of Anna Sorokin, features the swindler socialite rubbing elbows with fellow con artists Martin Shkreli and Billy McFarland.

In one scene, Sorokin who was released from prison last year after serving four years for masquerading as a German heiress named Anna Delvey  — enjoys a lavish dinner with Shkreli and other seemingly rich pals. In another, she mocks McFarland for calling his upcoming party, Fyre Festival.

So, were these three notorious scammers all connected? They were! And it appears that Sorokin even scammed McFarland by dodging rent.

Sorokin apparently lived in the SoHo headquarters of McFarland’s credit-card company Magnise back in 2013, the New York Post’s Page Six reported in 2018. In fact, she apparently squatted there at a townhouse where the company regularly threw parties without paying rent for four months.

“Anna knew people on Billy’s team,” a person described as an insider, told the outlet. “She just asked to stay for a few days … then she wouldn’t leave.”

McFarland, who is now behind bars, is no stranger to swindles. He was sentenced in 2018 to six years in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud in relation to the now-notorious Fyre Festival, which had been hyped as a can't-miss luxury music festival in the Bahamas. Unfortunately for those who spent thousands on tickets...it wasn't. Attendees arrived to find FEMA tents and meager meals instead of luxury accommodations. McFarland admitted to lying about the Fyre Festival to more than 80 investors, resulting in them losing about $26 million, the Associated Press reported in 2018. 

He’s expected to be released from prison in 2023.

Billy Mcfarland Ap

As for Shkreli, Sorokin apparently knew him and even picked up a trick from him, a former Vanity Fair editor that Sorokin befriended (and then scammed) wrote in 2018. The author, Rachel DeLoache Williams, noted that on a trip to Morocco, Sorokin got miffed when the hotel management asked her to pay in advance. 

“As retribution, she made note of the general managers’ names. Once she checked out, she claimed, she purchased the corresponding Internet domains. She then sent them e-mails to show what she’d done,” Williams wrote. “’I’ll sell them back for a million dollars each,” she told me. This was a trick she’d learned from Martin Shkreli—whom she admired, and even claimed to have met with once or twice.”

Over the span of several months in 2017, Shkreli apparently bought internet domains associated with the names of reporters that made him angry, Business Insider reported at the time. He would then try to sell the domains back to them for thousands.

Neffatari Davis, a former employee at the SoHo hotel 11 Howard, Sorokin introduced Shkreli as a “dear friend" to her, according to the 2018 New York Magazine article "How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People." The article, which inspired the dramatic series, notes that the meeting, a dinner, was when the two fraudsters met. That same evening, Davis claimed that Shkreli had played her and Anna the leaked tracks from a Lil Wayne album he bought. That occurrence was referenced in "Inventing Anna."

Martin Shkreli

Shkreli, like McFarland, is also currently serving time and is expected to be released in 2023. The disgraced pharmaceuticals CEO was convicted of securities fraud in 2017 for running a Ponzi-like scheme at his former hedge fund which scammed his investors. He also infamously gouged patients in 2015 through his former pharmaceutical company Turing Pharmaceuticals, by dramatically hiking up the cost of an HIV drug. He also infamously purchased the sole copy of the Wu-Tang Clan album “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” in 2015 for $2 million, but the album was later seized by the government as part of his sentence.

Sorokin was convicted in 2019 of eight charges, including grand larceny in the second degree, attempted grand larceny, and theft of services. 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 navigate the difficult career waters of New York City.

“Inventing Anna” was inspired by Jessica Pressler’s viral 2018 New York magazine article "How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People."