Shonda Rhimes, the creative mind behind Scandal and Grey's Anatomy, has a new scandalous project. She's writing a show about the life and times of Anna Delvey. This story has it all: money, celebrities, theft, scams, scandals, and conspiracy theories. Anna Delvey isn't even her real name. This girl manages to steal hundreds of thousands of dollars and outwit some of our nation's most reputable banks and institutions.
Anna Delvey is an Instagram sensation, a Blair Waldorf wannabe, and a girl on a mission. Is she sorry for what she did? I don't think so.
Who Is Anna Delvey?
First of all, Anna Delvey's real last name is Sorkin, not Delvey. Anna was born in Russian in 1991. She moved to Germany when she was sixteen-years-old. When she got a competitive internship at Purple magazine in Paris, she changed her last name to Delvey. That's where she began deceiving and social climbing.
Now Anna is in jail. She was indicted on six felony counts and one misdemeanor charge, including grand larceny. Keep reading to find out exactly how Anna's socialite life came tumbling down, and why Shonda Rhimes is so interested in her unique life story.
What Did She Do?
The public became aware of Anna Delvey thanks to a Vanity Fair article that came out in April 2017. According to the article, Anna tricked her closest friends into believing that she was a German heiress.
Eventually, Anna moved to New York where she became involved in the art world and the New York social scene. She went to high-end restaurants, hotels, and other expensive venues which she paid for through fraudulent means. After a lot of lies and unpaid bills, Anna was charged with grand larceny due to outstanding hotel bills.
How Much Money Was Involved?
Originally, Anna pleaded not guilty to grand larceny and theft of services amounting to "approximately $275,000 through multiple scams." Months later, she returned to court to ask the judge to lessen her plea deal sentence from a maximum of nine years to a maximum of three years.
The judge denied Anna's request. According to Jezebel, the judge said that Anna showed "little remorse" for her victims and she seemed "more concerned" about her publicity than the people she "allegedly took advantage of."
Anna Knows About Shonda's Project
Shonda Rhimes, the creator of Grey's Anatomy and the producer of Scandal, bought the rights to the New York magazine profile of Anna Sorkin. She's developing her story into a Netflix Original series.
Anna's former friend Neff Davis said that Anna is already thinking about which actress will play her in the series. She said, "Oh, Anna's aware. She's like, 'Okay, as long as Jennifer Lawrence or Margot Robbie play me,' And I'm like everyone wants Lindsay Lohan to play you and she's like, 'Oh my god, no offense, but isn't she like 30? My hair's not even red anymore, did you tell them that?'" Honestly, I think Juno Temple would be great for the role.
Who Was She Friends With?
From the outside, Anna looked like a popular person who was a big part of New York's social scene. She had some famous friends, including Macaulay Culkin and Martin Shkreli. Anybody who's friends with Martin Shkreli is probably bad news.
Her glamorous lifestyle started to fall apart when businesses started realizing that Anna wasn't actually paying any bills. Her rich friends, and sometimes her not-so-rich friends, got stuck paying for everything. Anna's friends were more like pawns to her. She used them for money and for status.
She Even Duped Vanity Fair's Rachel Williams
Rachel Williams is an American model, TV presenter, and designer. She spoke to Vanity Fair about how Anna tricked her out of how $62,000. Anna and Rachel vacationed in Morocco together.
Rachel said, "I was the victim of alleged grand larceny in the second degree — grand larceny by deception. Anna told me once that her plans were either going to work out, or all go horribly wrong. Now I see what she meant. It was a magic trick — I'm embarrassed to say that I was one of the props, and the audience, too. Anna's was a beautiful dream of New York, like one of those nights that never seems to end. And then the bill arrives."
How Did She Do It?
According to Rachel, Anna allegedly falsified documents. She made it look like she had a total of 60 million euros in international banks. She then took those fake documents to City National Bank where her request for a $22 million business loan was denied.
She wanted that money so she could open an art club in Soho. Although the bank didn't give her the full $22 million, they did give her $100,000. She used that money as security for another loan from a different investment group. Basically, Anna was borrowing money all over the place.
She's A Selfie Wizard
All of the pictures in this article come directly from Anna's Instagram account which is still very much accessible. Anna was indicted on six felony counts and one misdemeanor charge, including grand larceny.
While she was awaiting trial, she somehow managed to post a selfie on Instagram from jail. Who knows how Anna got access to a phone, but I have to say I'm not surprised. Of course, a girl who can steal hundreds of thousands of dollars can sneakily post a selfie.
Anna Decided To Skip Court
In 2017, a judge ordered for Anna's arrest. Two NYPD officers were at Manhattan Criminal Court to speak to Sorokin, who was twenty-six-years-old at the time. She was supposed to appear in court to face theft charges.
Her lawyer, Todd Spodek, told the court, "my client, unfortunately, is not here. I've reached out to her but have not heard back." This mistake would come back to haunt Anna. It could be one of the reasons that her request for a shorter maximum sentence was denied.
She Was Indicted On Six Counts of Grand Larceny
Anna Delvey could only scam her way out of court for so long. In late 2017, she was indicted on six counts of grand larceny as well as attempted grand larceny. Her arrest put an end to her five-year streak in which she scammed upward of $275,000 out of banks, investors, and friends.
At her sentencing, Judge Kiesel had some harsh words for Delvey, saying, "I see no remorse... She seems more concerned about who is going to play her in the movie than what she's done to the people she allegedly took advantage of."
The Red Flags Were There
A lot of the people who interacted with Anna described her as a difficult person. Employees at the hotels she was staying at described her as annoying and ill-mannered. She regularly bribed hotel and restaurant employees with one hundred dollar bills.
Anna was literally buying friends at this point. She was so well connected because she was able to give people cash whenever she felt it necessary. People thought that Anna was rich because it was so easy for her to give away money. That made people trust her claims and eventually lend her money.
She Was Lying About Being From Germany
Anna lived in Russia until she was sixteen. Her German language skills aren't as good as her Russian language skills. While she was in Germany, her classmates described her as a quiet girl who had a difficult time with the German language.
People were ignoring major clues that Anna wasn't who she claimed to be. If they had paid more attention to her accent or to her language abilities, maybe they wouldn't have been scammed so easily.
She Says That Jail Isn't So Bad
Although Anna is used to spending time at fancy New York hotels, she says that her time at Rikers Island hasn't been that bad. Anna said, "People seem to think it's horrible, but I see it as like, this sociological experiment … This one girl, she's been stealing other people's identities. I didn't realize it was so easy."
She also mentioned being fascinated by the murderers she's locked up with. Let's just hope that these criminals aren't giving Anna any more creative ideas.
She May Have Scammed The Fyre Festival Founder
Fyre Festival founder Billy McFarland has been accused of being involved in some scams of his own. Apparently, Anna asked to stay at the headquarters of a suspicious credit card company that McFarland owned.
She was only supposed to stay for a few days, but she actually refused to leave the Soho loft for months. McFarland was too "polite and nonconfrontational" to ask her to leave. He hinted that it was time for her to go, but when it came down to it, he couldn't kick her out. She ended up staying there for four months.
How Shonda Rhimes Got Involved
You may have heard that Rhimes and Shondaland are leaving ABC after fifteen years of collaboration. Shonda is going to remain involved with her current ABC shows, Grey's Anatomy, For The People, Station 19, and How To Get Away With Murder.
After Shonda read an article about Anna Delvey in New York magazine titled "How Anna Delvey Tricked New York's Party People," she became very interested in her story. As of now, Rhimes has decided to write a series based on Delvey's crimes for Netflix.
Anna Delvey Didn't Look Rich
Some fashion experts think that Anna's modest taste in clothes helped her convince people that she was really wealthy. Anna wore high-end brands, but not super high-end brands. She had a Supreme hoodie and a nice leather jacket, but her wardrobe cost nothing compared to the wardrobes of some of her famous friends.
Anna looked like she was so rich, she could afford to be careless about fashion. Her lax style made people believe that she was comfortable in their social circle.
She Often Flaunted Her Extravagant Lifestyle On Instagram
Although Anna didn't show off her wealth through her clothes, she did show off her wealth on Instagram. She posted pictures of herself in different tropical locations. She has photos of high-brow art, cars, hotels, and food.
From the outside, it looks like Anna was a cultured, well-connected rich girl with a lot of time on her hands. Her pictures are well composed and not overly ostentatious, although they do suggest a certain kind of lifestyle. Anna's Instagram was carefully curated to reflect her self-constructed image.
How Her Hair Gave Her Away
Haircuts and dye jobs can be expensive, especially at high-end salons. Maintaining a mane can also be really time-consuming. People who are actually rich can take the time to get regular blowouts and keratin treatments. Yeah, these hair treatments look good, but they also give the idle rich something to do with their time.
Anna didn't have much free time. She was too busy scamming and waiting for wire transfers. She didn't actually have the money to be bored all the time. Her hair always looked like she wasn't taking care of it.
Why Didn't Anybody Stop Her?
One of the big questions about this case is how did Anna keep up her scamming efforts for so long? She was ripping through money pretty quickly. The reason authorities didn't catch her sooner wasn't that she was a Catch Me If You Can level scammer. She wasn't even that good at lying.
Basically, she played people and banks against each other. She used the credibility she got from being associated with banks and rich people to boost her reputation. Ultimately, her debts caught up to her, and so did the police.
What Can We Learn From Anna Delvey?
In today's social media climate, looking rich and popular is just as good as being rich and popular. Anna took a thing that we all do online and tried to make it work in real life. We all embellish our lives on Instagram. We post our highlight reels, not our bloopers or deleted scenes. We make it look like we have more, do more, and spend more.
It's no wonder that so many people fell for Anna's act. We've become accustomed to lying. The line between reality and fantasy has been blurred.
Narcissism On Another Level
This is the most recent post on Anna's Instagram feed. Apparently, she will not be accepting any visitors while she's in prison— at least for now. You could write to her if you want, though.
I'm not sure why anybody would want to write to her. I guess she thinks she's still rich and popular, or she thinks that people are still interested in her story. On some level, we are still interested. We'll probably watch the Netflix show and we'll form our own opinions about Anna's illegal activity.