Anna Delvey was known by the New York social scene to be one of those mysterious Soho socialites that everyone knew, but none knew where she came from. Accepted into the party community as ‘one of them’, this Russian-German woman did something that shocked everyone who thought they knew her.
She partied with them, went to high-end restaurants, slept in hotel rooms and traveled abroad with friends she met in New York City. But while she paid in cash and gave $100 bills as tips to waiters, hotel crews and drivers, no one suspected the Russian-German heiress. When people started asking questions, the truth came out, and it wasn't what they thought.
1. The Mystery Woman
Anna Delvey was yet another heiress. The whole social scene knew that she came from a high-end family with a lot of money, as she had a lot of lavish experiences to prove her wealth.
She was simply seen as just another super rich young woman, no one expecting anything out of the ordinary from her - which is why the truth is so strange.
2. An Heiress of Wealth
She lived in hotel rooms in all of Soho. This would seem odd at first, and may have already sparked some curiosity from some people, though since she travelled and partied a lot, it made sense that she would stay in hotels in between going to her home country to renew her visa. In her Soho Hotel suite at Howard street, the story begins.
The hotel knew her too, knowing how high up she was in the social scene, they never once asked for her credit card. She was constantly out and out and seen at all the popular parties, so she wouldn’t be missed if they needed to find her.
3. High Life Living
Anna Delvey flashed her cash around freely, always handing out $100 bills as casual tips in all the events. She was regularly seen wearing luxury designer clothes and definitely looked and acted the part. Soon after staying in the Soho Hotel, she made friends with the concierge, Neffatari Davis, whom she called ‘Neff.’
Neff was curious about the young rich girl that was to be staying at the hotel for a long month - unusual for guests to stay this long at such an expensive hotel. Again, Anna threw the $100 around like nothing, often giving many tips to Neff.
4. A Soho Social Star
Of course Neff expected nothing more to Anna than being another Soho socialite that she often sees come through the hotel. Neff herself found benefit in her friendship with Anna, as she was aiming to get her cinematography career up and running with the help of all of Anna’s connections.
Anna knew the town already - the best food, drinks, bartenders and waiters. What was curious was that she tried very hard to make a connection with Neff by asking always for her recommendations for these things.
5. Friendly Feeling
So Anna and Neff became good friends, they got closer and shared more time together the longer that Anna stayed in the hotel. What Neff didn’t realize was how much danger she was actually putting herself in.
Neff explained about her relationship to Anna, “You just sit there and listen, because that’s your concierge life.” She was used to being friendly with guests, but didn’t usually stay in the friendship kind of relationship outside of her working hours. The two ended up so close that they regularly went out together.
6. $100 Tips
As mentioned above, Anna loved to give tips, and was well known for being an extra generous tipper, giving so many people $100 bills daily.
She paid for everything that she did and consumed in cash - and only $100 notes. No one asked about this behavior, and really just assumed it was part of her ultura lavish existence as a wealthy young girl having fun and showing off how much money she had.
7. Party Princess
“She gave to everyone,” Neff recalled about their time together, “Drivers, $100 cash. Meals… You know how you reach for your credit card? She wouldn’t let me.” Neff also shared that Anna hired her own personal coach and trainer for $4,5000.
Her European accent and money sharing habit made it clear how wealthy she was. Most people assumed - through either gossip that others spread, or that she shared - that she was an heiress to a very wealthy European family.
8. Social Butterfly
She made connections with everyone. Befriending not only Neff, but a whole host of celebrity names who she took out to expensive dinners at the famed Le Coucou French restaurant. She dined with celebrities, athletes, CEO’s and artists.
Neff later remarks about one evening she spent out to dinner seated next to Macaulay Culkin, “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 the godfather to Michael Jackson’s kids?’”
9. People Person
She was certainly a people person. Anna really did win them over and find it easy to make all of these connections. Even with how things turned out, one fact remains true - she had an impressive way with social situations.
Her biggest skill seemed to be the fact that she was such a people person. Someone who met Anna at a event during Paris Fashion Week remembers how one minute she introduced herself, and the next, she was chatting to his friends as of they were hers.
10. Knew Where To Go
It was said of Anna “She managed to be in all the sort of right places.” She would jet-set around the world, attending all of the biggest events and parties and really just made herself at home in a crowd full of strangers.
Someone else who knew Anna states “there are so many trust-fund kids running around… everyone is your best friend, and you don’t know a thing about anyone.” Normally, people don’t bother. Though with Anna, when more and more started to unravel and not quite add up, people began to wonder just where she came from.
11. A New Connection
Michael Xufu Huang and Anna met an an art show and developed a connection instantly. He is an art collector and museum founder, and their shared love of art brought them so close that they travelled to Italy together.
Michael was asked by Anna to put the travel expenses on his credit card, where will will pay him back later. He didn’t think twice and assumed it was in good faith… but was it?
12. Venice Adventure
Even though Michael noticed how strange it was that Anna paid for everything with cash, it didn’t spark anything in him enough to worry. Though what happened when the trip ended and it was time to pay him back?
Apparently Anna ‘forgot all about it.’ Michael accepted that excuse easily. When you’re that rich, a trip like that costs nothing, and it’s an easy thing to forget about a small expense like that.
13. The Birthday Girl
We wouldn’t have expected anything different when it came to Anna’s birthday. Of course, she threw herself a crazy big party. All of her rich and famous contacts came along to celebrate with her lavishly organized event.
Michael, her travel friend, went to the party. What happened after the big occasion shocked him however, as he received a message that she never paid her bill, and they asked for her contact details. From there… his suspicions grew.
14. Who is She?
People really began now to wonder where she really came from, and which gossip to believe. It seemed that many different threads of gossip were spread about how she got so wealthy and who is funding her expensive life.
It was rumored that her dad was a Russian diplomat. It was assumed she had a long line of family money she was sitting on. Someone mentioned that her dad was actually an oil-industry titan. It seemed that no one really knew the real story.
15. More Rumors
Another story was that Anna Delvey’s family got their fortune from antique trading in Germany. All of these theories were spread and created even more intrigue about this woman. And none of them ended up being correct.
Anna loved that she got more attention and fame from these speculations. There was this air of mystery about her that made even more people want to get to know her. She made even more connections and enjoyed the fame.
16. Her Dream
She wasn’t just a party princess, Anna also expressed to many people close to her that she had an ultimately goal of creating an exclusive club featuring high end art, which she would name The Anna Delvey Foundation (ADF). She scouted spots, hired a creative director, and started to make plans to really make it happen.
A location popped up in her search that seemed perfect, and it was 281 Park Avenue South that would need a redevelopment to make it her space. What she needed was someone to help her, however. She needed loans. Millions of dollars worth of loans. But wasn’t she an heiress?
17. Making Promises
Anna connected with a financial partner to help purchase the location because she said that her “personal assets, which are quite substantial, are located outside the US, some of them in a trust with UBS outside the US.” Hence, needing someone inside the US to do this for her.
Shae made the promise to pay back and that she would be respectful and professional in purchasing the location and getting the funds to them as soon as possible.
18. Her Guests
She decided to try and help herself with fundraising efforts of throwing dinner events and inviting wealthy guests to attend. She got close to the famous Martin Shkreli, who was well known in the pharmaceutical industry for raising the cost of important medication from $13 to $750. Later, he was convicted for fraud and is actually now in prison.
Shkreli remarks about Anna, “[she] did seem to be a popular ‘woman about town’ who knew everyone… Even though I was nationally known, I felt like a computer geek next to her.” Anna seemed to have picked up some skills from this man, as you’ll later begin to learn.
Her friend Neff explains about her plans to open the foundation, “She was always on the phone with lawyers… 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.’ ”
When the two friends went to dinner one night and Anna tried to pay with about 12 different credit cards, it became clear to Neff that she was having some financial issues.
20. Accommodation Drama
It seemed that Anna was starting to slip in her lavish cash flow floating through life. As she hadn’t yet paid for her room at the 11 Howard Hotel, and since they didn’t have a card on file for her, greater issues came up.
Initially, the hotel overlooked Anna’s failure to submit a card, treating her as a valued guest. The hotel owner was the owner of the location she was attempting to purchase, so she also was connected as a prospective ‘client’ as well. This is why the hotel decided to accept a wire transfer to pay for her room. After over a month however, no payment from her was received.
21. Too Much
Since Neff was good friends with Anna, the hotel requested that she deal with the issue. The total amount owing was over $30,000. Neff trusted that Anna could pay, and went to speak with Anna about the issue.
Anna’s response was that the transfer was on it’s way. That was the empty promise. From here, things really started to crumble for Anna Delvey. There was no going back.
It was a relief when the hotel did get a wire transfer for $30,000 for her room, so Anna resumed her social status as before and assumed all was fine.
Though since she continued to stay in the hotel, they required a credit card moving forward, and her bills were steadily rising. They demanded to have her put forward a card that was valid and even threatened to change her room code and throw her out.
23. Getting Serious
She was locked out when they changed the code and threw her out. Anna was furious, saying that she was being treated like a common person and that she did not deserve such terrible treatment. And then, she pulled out a trick that she learnt from the man mentioned earlier, Martin Shkreli.
She threatened them back, telling everyone who worked at the hotel and manage the establishment that she would purchase the website domains of each of their names so that they had to pay her to get them back. While she left that treat steeping, she took off on a vacation to Morocco with her personal trainer friend, and a videographer Rachel Williams.
24. Morocco Madness
The trip didn’t go smoothly at all. The trainer got very sick with food poisoning and decided to return to the US early. The trainer then got a call from Anna who was upset and distraught that her credit card wasn’t working.
The hotel manager of where she was staying threatened her with calling the police, and she pleaded desperately with her trainer friend to let her use her credit card. This one didn’t go through, and another card didn’t also, so the hotel thought perhaps the issue was their own, rather than the cards.
25. Another Home
Upon her return to the US, Anna found another hotel to move into. A pattern was starting to show, as she still couldn’t provide a credit card that worked, and ended up in over $11,000 debt in this new place. Her belongings were taken and she was kicked out. Things were starting to get serious.
The same thing happened yet again when she went to one more hotel, though this time she was thrown out after only a few days. In her desperation, she asked her trainer friend to stay at her place, and she agreed.
26. Morocco Bills?
If you’re wondering how she ended up settling the bill for the Morocco hotel, it was because her videographer friend took the whopping $62,000 bill on her American Express credit card.
The trainer friend then heard of what happened and was shocked and furious to hear that Rachel had to pay. This was when Anna began to really lose friends.
27. Welcome No More
So her trainer friend lost all trust, and immediately told Anna to leave her house. Anna left her laptop behind, which could have been a move to try to come back again and stay, though her once-friend didn’t fall for it, and left it at the front desk of the residence for Anna to pick up.
When Anna went to get her laptop, she stayed in the lobby of the building demanding to see her trainer friend. She would wait until she arrived. What would she do?
28. The Intervention
Anna didn’t get to confront her ex-friend, and she was very lost. She couldn’t find a hotel that would let her stay, and even resorted to asking one of her lawyers to stay at his house, to which he refused.
The lawyer suspected something was really not right here, and got in touch with Anna’s trainer. She invited Anna to a restaurant for dinner, which Anna had no idea of the intervention that was waiting for her. Enter all of the people who she owed money to.
29. Pay it Back
The harsh group intervention was a taste of the trouble Anna was in. Tens of thousands of dollars is what she took from her ‘colleagues’ and ‘friends’, and they wanted to know where it was. She claimed that she would have all the money to settle the debts once her lease was signed for that Foundation she was hoping to create.
But they saw through the act. That’s when the group told her that the location was rented to someone else. She still tried to make up reasons and excuses for herself. They weren’t going to buy it any longer.
30. The Ultimate Con
It all started to fall apart. The gig was up, and people began to spread the news by writing articles about her calling Anna a ‘wannabe socialite.’ She reacted by getting hurt and denying all of the rumors, saying it’s all a lie.
She remained true to her story that she had all the money, but couldn’t access it. Rachel didn’t believe Anna, and took matters into her own hands, emailing the New York District Attorney’s Office and let them know that she suspected Anna was a con-artist. The authorities looked into it, and immediately replied that they were quite sure she was too.
First she was arrested for her outstanding bills from all of the hotels. The newspapers spread the news, though Anna managed to find a lawyer and get bail. How she managed to go free is still unclear. One thing was for sure - she’s skilled at what she does.
Not long after she went back to her old, journeying to California where she was arrested instantly in Malibu. She returned by force to New York, she where faced what was explained as “six counts of grand larceny and attempted grand larceny, in addition to theft of services.”
32. The Real Anna
As it turns out, Anna Delvey was never her real name. Her real name is Anna Sorokin and she was born in 1991 in Russia. She’s no German heiress, her family only moved to Germany in 2007.
Her roots lie not in a wealthy family, but an average working class family that definitely did not give her any ‘trust fund.’ She’s facing a possible 15 years in prison.
33. Her Plea
Using her talents, she’s still attempting to bargain her way out of her full crimes. She’s offered a plea deal to the judge or 3 years or less imprisonment. The judge didn’t buy it, and rejected her plea.
The counter offer from the judge was 3-9 years, though Anna boldly rejected the deal, choosing to go to trial instead. Where it goes from here is uncertain, though it’s not looking good for her.
34. Any Remorse?
The judge of this case, Justice Diane Kiesel, remarks that Anna clearly shows no remorse for her atrocities. She definitely didn’t feel that less than 3 years would be fair to all of the people she had basically stolen from and the crimes that she had committed.
Since the judges of the case are willing to put her into prison for up to 15 years, luck is no longer on Anna’s side. She has definitely fallen from grace.
35. Netflix Series
That’s right. As Anna waits for her trial, there’s news of a upcoming series of Netflix about her life. Apparently Anna seems more interested in who will play her in the series, rather than take responsibility for her crimes.
Anna even commented about the prison, “this place is not that bad at all actually… People seem to think it’s horrible, but I see it as like, this sociological experiment.” Anna’s lawyer has confirmed that she’s doing quite fine behind bars.
36. Still a Social Butterfly
Her lawyer goes on to say that Anna is “like a unicorn in there.” Just as she did before, she’s easily made friends, and loves to connect with such intriguing people - especially the more serious inmates.
“This one girl, she’s been stealing other people’s identities. I didn’t realize it was so easy,” Anna has said. This points to a possible direction for her future as a con-artist, as learning these tricks in prison can easily lead her back to trouble.
37. The Foundation
Of course, Anna’s dream foundation has not happened. It was true that another lease was taken out, so now a Swedish photography organization named Fotografiska has taken residence.
Apparently Anna still wishes for the foundation to be made, and probably gets a sense that it would actually be a popular place especially now that she’s become even more famous for her crimes.
38. How She Pulled it Off
For a relatively young woman, she pulled off some impressive scams on many banks, hotels, professionals and personal ‘friends.’ Experts believe that Anna’s total amount that she illegally obtained and used was $275,000. Falsified documents claiming that she had European money were one way she got loans from the banks. Where did she learn to do that? It’s suspected she’s got friends who schooled her in the art on conning for money.
Another way she got so much money was using bad checks, and taking out credit that she had no intention of paying back. Did she consider that it would catch up with her? Or maybe she wanted to create her arts club so it could make her some money to pay it all back.
39. She Had Them All Fooled
Anna really did make everyone believe that she was who she said. She played the part well, she managed to do all the right moves in the ‘con’ of banks and establishments, and she had people who trusted her as a friend.
As impressive as all of that is, she couldn’t have kept it up for ever, and now justice is now being served. We doubt any of the friends and connections she made on the outside are continuing - especially since most of them are people she owes money to.
40. Mail Me
That doesn’t take away from her star status though. Of course, all of the headlines and the gossip about what happened has now spread and made her name even more legendary. Her Instagram is still active - so obviously someone is still connected for her.
She’s ever the social butterfly still, asking people to write to her even while she’s in prison. What will become of her after she’s finished her sentence and there’s been more exposure with the netflix series? What more tricks will she learn on the inside? Time will tell.