Despite the fact that the entirety of 2020 might loom larger in the minds of the public at large due to the (still ongoing) coronavirus pandemic, those who might sardonically look back toward more halcyon days might remember the media-ordained 2018 “Summer of Scam,” in which four high-profile con artists faced a major reckoning through a series of highly detailed media reports recounting their crimes for public entertainment. Among them was Fyre Festival grifter Billy McFarland, infamous “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli, Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes, and faux-socialite Anna Delvey.
Unlike Holmes, McFarland, and Shkreli, Delvey — whose real name is Anna Sorokin — used social media and a complex knowledge of the inner workings of the art and fashion worlds in order to scam financial institutions. She used most of her money to fund a lavish lifestyle — though per Sorokin, who still goes by her alias, ostensibly did it with the end goal of creating her own arts foundation. (She also swindled money from individuals, including her former friend Rachel DeLoache Williams). The uncertain nature of her motivations, despite what’s in the public record, has made her story all the more intriguing. Now that the fake heiress once again has her freedom after her release from prison in February 2021 after a four-year incarceration (including time served after her July 2017 arrest), it seems that her post-prison plans might mean that the tale of Anna Delvey isn’t quite over.
Anna Delvey's life has been adapted for more than a Netflix series
As many who followed the “Summer of Scam” and after might be well aware, Anna Delvey’s public outing as a socialite-esque grifter were due to the publication of two pieces. The first were an investigative May 2018 piece by New York Magazine, as well as a Vanity Fair essay penned by her former confidante Rachel DeLoache Williams. Following the coverage of Delvey’s 2019 trial, conviction, and sentencing, the continued fascination with Delvey, paired with both high-profile pieces, landed the fake heiress an elongated mortality within the realm of media.
In addition to the upcoming Shonda Rhimes-helmed Netflix series Inside Anna, there will be an HBO adaptation spearheaded by Lena Dunham, and Delvey’s exploits have also been retooled for radio and the stage.
In a March 2021 interview with BBC Newsnight, Delvey was asked if crime pays. Her response? “In a way, it did.” Her rejoinder seemingly referred to the money she received from Netflix for her life story: $320,000. Delvey seemingly attempted to deflect criticism by stating she “never asked for Netflix to buy my story, it just happened.”
As the BBC summarized, the payout was frozen in a bank account under New York law, which prohibits convicted felons of using their crimes to generate profit. Per the BBC, Delvey will be allowed to access the money after her debts are paid, and $170,000 out of the $320,000 has already been allocated to the banks she swindled at the height of her socialite con.
Anna Delvey's post-prison plans range from NFTs to prison reform
Since leaving prison in February 2021 after serving the four-year minimum, Anna Delvey has seemingly used her con-constructed clout to make, by all appearances, a comeback. Following her release, Delvey has resumed her use of her Instagram account, which as of the time of this writing has garnered 128K followers. Among the more standard fare of selfies and masked public outings with unnamed friends during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, she has posted excerpts of her self-declared “prison diaries” recounting her time behind bars.
Though Delvey has otherwise spoken about pursuing a role as an activist or advocate for prison reform — seemingly a byproduct of her own short-lived incarceration following her conviction — her main target seems to be, per Delvey in her March 2021 interview with The Sunday Times, a possible book and forays into other business ventures (including an “NFT project”) though she declined to go into detail when it came to the latter. Aside from that, Delvey’s focus has been on the upcoming Netflix limited series Inventing Anna starring Julia Garner, who will play the “fake heiress” in the series. But while a deal with Netflix would suggest that Delvey has finally obtained the fortune she strived for in her grifter days, it seems that it couldn’t be further from the truth.
Anna Delvey said it was a 'compliment' to be labeled a sociopath
Aside from the projects Anna Delvey told The Sunday Times and BBC Newsnight in March 2021, she currently has in the hopper (at the time of this writing, at least), another post-prison project of the media-anointed “fake heiress” appears to be keeping her name in the headlines. While the two high-profile interviews with major media outlets could indicate that point all on their own, it’s her one-liners in particular that have provided further fuel for that particular line of speculation. For example: Delvey’s statement that she considers being labeled a “sociopath” by the media and others a “compliment.”
After her interview with The Sunday Times went live, tabloids and other publications like The Daily Mail zeroed in on how Delvey seemed to take the label sociopath as a badge of honor. “I actually see it as a compliment because they see Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk and Steve Jobs as sociopaths, so if they mean it in that way, I’ll take it,” explained Delvey at the time. Despite her rationale, however, she also appeared to take umbrage with how her con and conviction led many to apply the term to her. “[Others] portrayed me as someone very manipulative, which I don’t think I am,” she later told the BBC. “I was never trying to talk my way into anything. I just told people what I wanted and they gave it to me, or I would move on.”
Deportation might thwart Anna Delvey's plans
Despite her February 2021 release from prison, there’s a chance Anna Delvey won’t be able to remain on U.S. shores for long. As the BBC noted in March 2021, Todd Spodek, an attorney representing Delvey, informed the media outlet that he is currently working on an appeal in advance to delay and/or bar Delvey’s possible deportation. Per the BBC, if Spodek’s efforts were to hypothetically be overturned by the U.S. judicial system, Delvey would most likely be sent back to Germany, where the convicted scammer lived from 2007 to 2011 for the majority of her adolescence before relocating to the U.K. to study at a London university.
Unfortunately for the fake socialite, this scenario is looking more and more likely. On March 31, 2021, The New York Post reported that Delvey had been taken into custody by officers for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency after turning herself in only days prior. According to Steven Pugliese, an immigration lawyer who spoke with the Post, her possible detainment, which could result in deportation, was due to overstaying her visa in addition to her 2019 conviction. “She’s immediately removable unless she filed some application for relief,” he further explained, and that “if there’s an application pending she would most likely remain in custody until it’s adjudicated.”
Now, it seems Delvey was only given six weeks of freedom before finding herself once again in a cell. Where she’ll go from here is anyone’s guess.
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