I can't imagine being so rich that I could literally do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. To be able to wear and buy whatever I wanted would be crazy, and not having to stop and think about the price of something or even check my bank account would just be mindblowing.
Enter Anna Delvey: mysterious, young, New York socialite who appeared in SoHo one day. She burst onto the social scene with a vengeance and fit in so well no one asked where she came from. She was young and cute and always in the right place at the right time. But, as we know, all good things must come to an end.
She seemingly came from nowhere, simply appeared out of thin air and burst onto the New York City socialite scene as if she had been there her entire life. SoHo was graced with her presence and she was always in the right place at the right time. She knew all the right people.
Anna was not anchored down to anywhere in particular. She simply stayed at fancy hotels as she saw fit, and moved about with the freedom of someone who never even has to think about money. She occasionally would have to go back to her home mysterious home country so she could renew her tourist visa, but that was it. When she took up residence at 11 Howard Street in SoHo, the new boutique hotel that she was staying at never even asked for a credit card to put on file.
Anna was always wearing the nicest and trendiest clothing and had a penchant for handing out $100 tips. She often visited the concierge in her latest hotel home and spoke with Neffatari Davis, or Neff for short. Neff noticed that Anna was staying for a month, which isn't typical for her hotel unless the person was a celebrity. It seemed Anna liked her though, as she always had a $100 tip waiting for her when she got back to her concierge desk.
Neff thought it was quite strange that Anna asked for recommendations all the time when it seemed like she knew the area better than Neff herself. She also often found herself thinking about Anna's connections in New York City and how that might benefit her success in breaking into the cinematography scene. Why was Anna being so friendly?
Neff soon came to realize that Anna just wanted a friend. It must be lonely at the top. Neff later recalled the experience, "You just sit there and listen, because that’s your concierge life." She had often found herself speaking with celebrities but never after hours. It was pretty taboo, but nevertheless, she found herself adventuring with Anna after she had clocked out.
Anna was a very popular guest at the hotel on 11 Howard Street as her $100 bill tips continued to flow for everything little thing someone did for her. People would literally fight each other to bring her up a package to get their hands on her generous tipping. She only ever paid for things with cash, and strangely almost exclusively in $100 bills. No one questioned her, because nothing really seemed amiss.
The cash flow coming from Anna was enormous. She not only tipped everyone at the hotel in $100 bills, but also Uber drives and at restaurants. Neff later recalled, "You know how you reach for your credit card? She wouldn’t let me.”
Anna was living the life, but still wanted to work on herself, so she hired a life coach/personal trainer to the tune of $4,500. She obviously could pay for whatever she wanted. Even though no one honestly knew where she came from, her accent had people guessing that she typically resided somewhere within European royalty.
Anna was never without something to do, so the next item on her agenda was to host regular get-togethers for all of her celeb friends at a nearby French restaurant called Le Coucou. Neff was obviously invited and reminisced about a time she was sat next to Macaulay Culkin. She was starstruck.
“I had so many questions. And he was right there. But they were talking about, like, friend stuff. So I never got the chance to be like, ‘So, you're the godfather to Michael Jackson’s kids?’
Even though Anna seemed to come out of nowhere she was the perfect socialite and made quick friends. She was charming and had a way with words. A man who met Anna at a Paris Fashion Week show talked about how she went from introducing herself to him to being apart of his crowd of friends almost instantly. She was charming and she knew it.
Anna was always in the right place at the right time. She often found herself at events filled with trust fund kids, so her richness and where it came from was of no concern or care to the people around her. They just assumed she was just like them, as they honestly didn't know too much about their own friends anyway.
As she did with many people, when she met Michael Xufu Huang she instantly bonded with him. He was a prestigious art collector and had founded a museum. They soon thereafter decided to vacation to Italy together and head to the Venice Biennale, a famous biennial art exhibition.
Anna, being a girl who only paid in cash, had Michael put the hotel and flight on his card promising to pay him back. He thought it was a little odd, but most hotels/airlines wouldn't accept cash as a form of payment so he never gave it a second thought.
They had a wonderful time in Italy, and Anna continued to pay cash for everything else on the trip as per her usual routine. Once they returned home, she seemed to forget about paying Michael back but he honestly wasn't concerned. He knew what it was like to be that rich, and sometimes he forgot things like that too, as they didn't seem as big of a deal. He never reminded her and he eventually lost track of the IOU as well.
Anna was not one to do things on a small scale, so she decided that for her birthday she was going to have a huge birthday party. She obviously hired people to organize it for her and even got a PR firm to handle the invites and get celebrities there. Michael came and had a great time. However a couple of days after the party, Michael got an odd call. The person on the other end of the line was looking for Anna's contact information because she hadn't paid her bill. This instantly had Michael suspicious of Anna and if she was who she said she was.
As strange things like the birthday party bill started to happen, people found themselves revisiting Anna's backstory and where exactly she came from. Did anyone actually know?
Some thought she was the heiress of an oil-industry kingpin. Others thought her father was a Russian diplomat and that she came from family money. But honestly, no one really knew for sure.
There were even more theories about where she came from, including her being from Germany and being in the antique business. She didn't let the theories bother her, and she honestly thrived in the mysterious circumstances that surrounded her existence. She didn't tell a soul.
Anna was on a mission and her first project was the create The Anna Delvey Foundation, or ADF. She hired a British creative director, Marc Kremers, and set off to find a spot for her new art club.
They found the perfect spot at 281 Park Avenue South. This location was prime real estate and she would need millions in loans to get the redevelopment done. Without a hint of hesitation, she used her connections and found someone willing to give her a loan.
Anna had her connection help to write to the financial institution to secure her funding. He wrote in an email that she needed funding because "her personal assets, which are quite substantial, are located outside the US, some of them in a trust with UBS outside the US.” She told them she could pay and that she in no way would be an embarrassment to the firm. She said she was trustworthy.
She needed funds for her venture and decided to try and supplement the gap through fundraising efforts. She continued to organized dinners and invite celebs to try and get the money flowing. She even befriended Martin Shkreli, aka the infamous Pharma Bro, who is currently serving time in federal prison and is basically a scum bag.
"Anna did seem to be a popular ‘woman about town’ who knew everyone,” Shkreli once wrote. “Even though I was nationally known, I felt like a computer geek next to her.”
Even though Anna was having very serious about securing funding for her foundation, she was constantly fighting with her lawyers about it. Neff would overhear phone conversations Anna would have saying, "They were always toning her down. Like, ‘Anna, you’re trying to make something that’s worth this much be worth that much, and that’s just not how it works.’ ”
Neff knew it had gotten bad when Anna went to go pay for their dinner one night, and she couldn't. She even busted out 12 different credit cards, and they all got declined. Things did not look good for Anna.
Another looming issue was her bill for her stay at Neff's place of employment, the hotel at 11 Howard Street. As previously mentioned, they didn't ask for a credit card when she checked in due to obviously wealthy status. She also happened to be trying to buy the property for her foundation from the owner of the hotel she was staying at. They treated her well and decided that a wire transfer would be acceptable for payment. Anna agreed, but a month and a half went by...and still nothing.
The hotel manager didn't want to anger Anna, but they did need to get their money, which was around $30,000 at that time. They sent Neff in to ask Anna, as they were obviously close friends. Anna reassured Neff that the wire transfer was en route and not to worry. She played it off like everything was totally fine.
Anna kept her promise, and the $30,000 payment showed up. The hotel couldn't take any further chances though, and they demanded that she put a valid credit card on file to avoid another confrontation. They even told her they would change the code on her room if she didn't cooperate.
When Anna didn't comply, the hotel followed through with their promise and locked her out. She was angry and embarrassed and felt like she wasn't being treated with the appropriate level of social status.
She decided that instead of complying to threaten them instead, a trick she learned from Martin Shkreli. She told the managers she would purchase web domains of their names and basically blackmail them into paying her for them in the future.
After that huge bluff, she took off on vacation to Morocco with her personal trainer and women named Rachel Williams, who was a videographer.
Her Moroccan vacation was not relaxing in the least. Her trainer had to leave early because she got food poisoning, and when Anna tried to leave herself she called her crying because her credit card wasn't going through. She barely escaped being arrested after convincing her personal trainer to try and use two of her credit cards and neither of them worked either. The hotel believed it was on their end and they didn't call the cops.
Anna got back to the US unscathed and found herself in the same ole predicament. She moved into another hotel, couldn't pay her bill or provide a credit card, and got kicked out with all of her belongings locked behind the hotel door. She got away with it one more time, but only lasted a few days until they too kicked her out. No one else would house her, and so she found herself homeless on the streets of NYC.
She turned to the only person she could at the time and begged her personal trainer to take her in, even resorting to vague suicide threats to guilt her into it. She didn't like the idea and was actually in the company of a date at the time, but she believed it was an emergency and did it anyway.
You may recall we never went over how Anna got out of Morocco without paying her bill. Remember the third person who went on that trip? The videographer? Rachael Williams ended up having to charge $62,000 to her American Express, more than she makes in a year because they threatened to lock her up. Obviously, jail time in a third world country is not something to mess with. Her friendship with Anna was over, as she obviously had no idea who she really was after all.
The trainer eventually tried to get Anna to leave his house and finally convinced her walk out the front door. She left her laptop as insurance, but she promptly took it down to the front desk for her to collect. She returned for the laptop but refused to leave the lobby until she saw her trainer. Her trainer absolutely refused.
Anna couldn't find anywhere to stay. She had no money, and even lowly hotels refused to serve her. She begged everyone she could think of for a place to stay, including one of her lawyers. He refused as his wife was not keen on the idea, and he even called the personal trainer to try and convince her. She said no again. They did, however, decide to stage an intervention, and the trainer invited Anna to a nearby restaurant.
Anna showed up to the restaurant and found a group of friends waiting for her to stage an intervention. She owed them collectively tens of thousands of dollars. Anna cried and tried to convince them that once she signed the lease for the ADF that she would be back on her feet and everyone would get paid back.
They then gave her the bad news that someone else had leased the property in the interim. She didn't seem concerned and honestly didn't seem to believe them.
Tabloids had latched on to the story of the downfall of Anna Delvey, and were publishing articles about how she was a wannabe. She did not take this lightly, and was desperately trying to convince everyone around her that she had the money, she just had made a wrong turn somewhere along the way.
Rachael, who she owed $62,000 to was not convinced in the least and emailed the NY District Attorney to file charges, telling him that she thought they were dealing with a con artist. He responded quickly, confirming that he had similar ideas about Anna's true self.
Anna didn't last long before she was arrested. The headlines read “WANNABE SOCIALITE BUSTED FOR SKIPPING OUT ON PRICEY HOTEL BILLS". She was able to get out on bail, find some money and take off to Malibu, but the law caught up with her and took her straight back to NYC “to face six counts of grand larceny and attempted grand larceny, in addition to theft of services.”
Anna's bail was revoked, and she was sent to Rikers to await her trial. She was facing 15 years in prison and her world was unraveling around her. Everyone finally got to find out who she really was. She was Russian, her name was actually Anna Sorokin, and she was born in 1991 to Russian parents who moved to Germany in 2007. She was not rich. Her family had no money.
Anna attempted to get out of her crimes with an outrageous plea deal offer of 1-3 years of prison time. The judge was taken aback and countered with 3-9 years. Anna, clearly not thinking, refused the offer and decided to take her chances at a trial.
Anna seemed to show no remorse for what she did, and the judges were well aware of that. They were offended at her plea deal offer, as it was clear she deserved much longer than 1-3 years of prison.
Anna continues to await trial and her story is so outrageous Netflix has picked up a documentary on her mischief. She is reportedly concerned more with who will play her on the series rather than all of the friends she swindled out of money.
“This place is not that bad at all actually,” Anna said in reference to Rikers. “People seem to think it’s horrible, but I see it as like, this sociological experiment.”
In a very Anna fashion, she has charmed most of her fellow inmates and even made friends with the murderers. She loves to study people and their crimes and seems to be doing just fine in prison.
“This one girl, she’s been stealing other people’s identities. I didn’t realize it was so easy,” Anna said seemingly fascinated.
Though the previous location of the ADF was leased to a Swedish photography shop call Fotografiska, Anna still plans on opening up shop. Delusionally, she would like to focus on all the good things she did, instead of the minor, to her, things she perpetrated on her friends.
All in all, Anna swindled people out fo $275,000, including her friends, hotels, and banks. She faked documents showing she had tons of cash in Europe when she really didn't. These helped her get loans. She would then write bad checks to other banks and take out lines of credit she shouldn't have been able to afford.
I'm not sure if Anna truly thought she was going to be able to keep up her charade. She lived a life she probably had always dreamed of, but everything like that will come crashing down eventually. I wonder if she thought her ADF would help her become the socialite everyone thought she was.
While she is prison she apparently has someone updating her Insta, and never fear as she is still the same ole self-absorbed Anna. In case you are looking to write a prisoner, she has supplied you with her address. Who knows, you might get something back. Just never loan her money.