Fake German heiress convicted of bilking banks, businesses

Anna Sorokin is seen in the courtroom during her trial at New York State Supreme Court in New York on April 11, 2019. (AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY)
Updated 26 April 2019
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Fake German heiress convicted of bilking banks, businesses

  • Sorokin claimed her father was diplomat and went to extraordinary lengths to have others pay her way
  • She also faces deportation to Germany because authorities say she overstayed her visa

NEW YORK: A New York jury on Thursday convicted an extravagant socialite who bankrolled an implausibly lavish lifestyle with tens of thousands of dollars she swindled from banks, hotels and friends who believed she was a wealthy German heiress.
The Manhattan jury found Anna Sorokin guilty of four counts of theft of services, three counts of grand larceny and one count of attempted grand larceny following a monthlong trial that attracted international attention. She was acquitted of one count of grand larceny and one count of attempted grand larceny.
Her defense attorney, Todd Spodek, said Sorokin could face between five and 15 years in prison on the most serious charge. She is scheduled to be sentenced May 9.
Sorokin also faces deportation to Germany because authorities say she overstayed her visa.
Using the name Anna Delvey, Sorokin deceived friends and financial institutions into believing she had a fortune of about $67 million (60 million euros) overseas that would cover her high-end clothing, luxury hotel stays and trans-Atlantic travel.
She claimed her father was a diplomat or an oil baron and went to extraordinary lengths to have others pay her way. Prosecutors alleged that she promised one friend an all-expenses paid trip to Morocco but then stuck her with the $62,000 bill — Sorokin was acquitted of that charge.
She also was accused of forging financial records in an application for a $22 million loan to fund a private arts club she wanted to build, complete with exhibitions, installations and pop-up shops, prosecutors said. She was denied the loan but persuaded one bank to lend her $100,000 she failed to repay.
Spodek insisted that Sorokin planned to settle her six-figure debts and was merely “buying time.” He portrayed her as an ambitious entrepreneur who had merely gotten in over her head but had no criminal intent.
Spodek said Sorokin was “upset, as anyone would be,” following the verdict. But he said he was pleased Sorokin had been acquitted of one of the most serious charges in the indictment: attempting to steal more than $1 million from City National Bank.
The verdict followed two days of often tedious deliberations, in which jurors asked for repeated clarification on the law and, in one note to the judge, indicated they had reached a “stalemate” due to a single uncompromising juror. In another note Thursday, jurors said they were “unable to reach a unanimous verdict because we fundamentally disagree.”
They reached their verdict less than two hours later.


Sweden asks for detention of WikiLeaks’ Assange

Updated 20 May 2019
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Sweden asks for detention of WikiLeaks’ Assange

  • Assange was evicted last month from the Ecuadorian Embassy where he had been holed up since 2012
  • The Australian secret-spiller also faces a US extradition warrant for allegedly conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer

COPENHAGEN: A Swedish prosecutor says she has requested a detention order against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is jailed in Britain.
Prosecutor Eva-Marie Persson says if the Swedish court decided to detain Assange “on probable cause suspected for rape ... I will issue a European Arrest Warrant.”
Assange, who was evicted last month from the Ecuadorian Embassy where he had been holed up since 2012, was arrested by British police on April 11 and is currently serving a 50-week sentence for jumping bail in 2012.
The Australian secret-spiller also faces a US extradition warrant for allegedly conspiring to hack into a Pentagon computer.
Persson said Monday that British authorities will decide any conflict between a European arrest warrant and US extradition request for Assange.