Anna Sorokin, better known as Anna Delvey, was a Russian grifter who posed as a German heiress to scam her way into elite Manhattan circles. For years Sorokin conned hotels, banks, and her rich friends into believing she was wealthy, racking up bills from months-long stays at luxury hotels and investments in a start-up that never seemed to exist. Even after her con was exposed, Sorokin’s story attracted national attention, and eventually producer and screenwriter Shonda Rhimes obtained the rights to adapt the saga for Netflix. The upcoming miniseries, Inventing Anna, stars Ozark’s Julia Garner as Anna Sorokin/Delvey and is based on the 2018 New York Mag article “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People.”
But New York state has used its 1977 “Son of Sam” law to take back the profits Sorokin would make from the Netflix deal. The legislation, which was passed after reports that serial killer David Berkowitz had been offered money for a “tell-all” about his crimes as the “Son of Sam”, prohibits people who have been convicted of a crime from profiting off of that crime through book and movie deals.
Last year, the New York state attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit against Anna Sorokin, invoking the “profits of a crime” provision of the law to argue that Sorokin shouldn’t receive payment for Inventing Anna. At the same time, the Office of Victim Services confiscated the funds Sorokin had received from the Netflix deal with the intent of allowing two of Sorokin’s “victims,” both of which were banks, to pursue legal action against her. After filing a lawsuit in the Albany County Supreme Court, City National Bank N.A. was granted $100,000 of the frozen funds in September. Citibank N.A. claimed the other $40,000 from the Netflix deal, but is still owed $70,000 in damages, which Sorokin’s lawyer Todd Spodek claims will be paid with the remainder of the money his client will be receiving from the streaming platform.
In April of 2019, Sorokin was convicted on a number of charges, including “second-degree grand larceny, theft of services and one count of first-degree attempted grand larceny.” Soon afterward she was sentenced to four to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay nearly $199,000 in restitution in addition to a $24,000 fine. Sorokin is currently incarcerated, but after a state parole board granted her an early release for her good disciplinary record, it’s expected she’ll be paroled in February of 2021.