How fake heiress conned New York's elite
A fake heiress who swindled hotels, banks, restaurants and wealthy friends out of more than $200,000 (€180,000) has been found guilty by a jury in New York.
Anna Sorokin, a 28-year-old magazine intern, managed to con New York's elite into lending her money and supporting her luxurious lifestyle.
Clad in designer clothes, she moved from one boutique hotel to the next, befriending the concierges and handing out $100 tips. She treated friends to expensive meals and chartered a private plane, all on credit cards she had secured through fraud.
Her mission was to open a private members' club on Park Avenue, and she secured the backing of high-society architects, artists and fashion designers.
"Fake it until you make it,'" her lawyer Todd Spodek said during opening statements last month. "Anna had to live by it." In reality, Sorokin had hardly any money - her father is reportedly a former truck driver from Russia who runs a heating and cooling business in Germany, and had supported her for years.
She had left home for an internship in Paris at 'Purple' magazine, then relocated to New York in 2014. Kaegan Mays-Williams, prosecuting, told jurors Sorokin "put herself in the best position to take money" from wealthy people so she could "live the fantasy of an extravagant lifestyle beyond her means". Even during her month-long trial Sorokin put on a show, hiring a stylist to dress her in different luxury labels every day, with clothes being taken to her in jail on Riker's Island.
Her lawyer even confirmed to 'GQ': "Today it's Yves Saint Laurent blouse and Victoria Beckham pants."
Prosecutors insisted she was a conniving criminal. Ms Mays-Williams added: "She stole from banks. She stole from hotels. She stole from friends. She tried to steal from a hedge fund." Mr Spodek insisted she was intending to pay it all back. But she was found guilty on three charges but acquitted of another count regarding a $22m (€19.7m) loan she tried to obtain.
The jury also acquitted her of stealing $60,000 from a friend who paid for a trip to Morocco. Sorokin faces up to 15 years in jail - although she could be deported to Germany.