Her Rich Inner Circle Wondered Why She Always Paid In Cash

When Anna Delvey started making a splash in the New York socialite scene, many people weren’t really aware of where she was from. She had seemingly come out of nowhere, leaving everyone to believe her claims that she was a rich German heiress with millions to spend frivolously. The dark truth was that her life wasn’t quite the easy-living fairy tale that she had everyone around her believing.


When everything had come to light, it was revealed that she wasn’t who she said she was. There was no vast fortune, and she had been enjoying her lavish life on the dime of others. It’s hard to imagine something like that happening to us or someone we know, but she was very good at being convincing. She almost got away with it too.

Who is Anny Delvey?

At first glance, nobody really had a reason to doubt that she was a rich woman. She was certainly dressed for the part all of the time, and held herself like royalty. What helped was that she was always in the right place at the right time to get what she wanted. As far as her living arrangements went, it meant she was constantly on the move.


Because she was constantly seen with other socialites, the 11 Howard hotel in SoHo didn’t ask her for a credit card when she checked in. They just assumed she was who she said she was. Given that she was known for handing out $100 bills as tips, none of the employees wanted to look a gift horse in the mouth either. One of those people was concierge Neffatari “Neff” Davis.

A New Friend

Like many others who were living in New York, Neff was chasing bigger dreams than just working at a hotel. She had her own artistic dreams, but didn’t have the connections to get anywhere in filmmaking. When Anna walked through the door, she saw the young woman as an opportunity to get closer to influencers in the industry.


Luckily for her, Anna was keen on making new friends, and was constantly coming by the concierge desk to ask for information. It was clear to Neff that the young woman already knew the answers to her questions, like what restaurants were nearby. Instead, she just wanted someone to talk to, so they started to grow closer.

No Warning Signs

As a concierge, Neff was used to being talked to all day, so she didn’t think there was anything strange about the situation. On top of that, everyone else was always fighting to try to get Anna what she wanted. Because of her reputation for big tipping, bag boys wanted to help her get things to her room.


Anytime anyone assisted her with anything, hundred dollar bills would come out. This included paying for meals at restaurants or at stores. Because of her accent and the amount of money she was throwing around, nobody had a reason to question her story of being the daughter from a wealthy European family. After all, why question the gift that keeps on giving? They just wanted to get in on her generosity while they still could.

Partying with the Stars

Neff wasn’t the only acquaintance that Anna head. Because the wealthy woman was frequently organizing parties and dinners in the restaurant that was attached to the hotel, she rubbed shoulders with many of the New York elite. Thanks to these gatherings, Le Coucou quickly became the chic place to be in the city.


Since Neff was always invited to these parties, she got to meet and talk to well-known celebrities. One time, she even sat next to actor Macaulay Culkin, who Anna seemed to be very familiar with. In these situations, Neff always felt slightly out of place while her friend talked up a storm to the rich and famous. She just always seemed to have a way with people to get them to listen to what she had to say, which let her fit in anywhere.

Early Warnings

One of the friends that Anna made was with art collector Michael Xufu Huang. The two of them became friends during an event that they both attended, and they decided to take a trip to Italy together. He did think it was a little odd that she requested he pay for her airfare and lodging with his credit card, though he didn’t really press the matter otherwise. After all, she was always throwing money around, so he didn’t have any reason to believe that she wouldn’t pay him back.


While in Italy, she continued to pay for everything in cash, never pulling out a credit card. Despite this spending, she seemingly forgot to pay Michael back when the trip was over. Of course, that kind of cash is pocket change among millionaires, and he forgot about the debt shortly after.

More Red Flags

When Anna’s birthday came along, she decided to use her organizational skills to throw a huge party. In addition to hiring a PR firm to keep things going smoothly, she also invited many of her famous acquaintances. One of those people was Michael, who still had no idea that something was amiss. He was about to get a rude awakening about his lovely new friend though.


The party itself was fine, but there were problems after everyone had left. A few days after the event, Michael was contacted because the nothing had actually been paid for. The organizers knew that he was close with her, so they thought they could get her contact information from him. That’s when he realized things weren’t adding up, and Anna Delvey might not be the person that she said she was.

Varied Stories

People began to realize that they had been told very different things about where she was from. One of her friends was certain that Anna was the daughter to a rich Russian diplomat, while another was sure that she was born to a rich oil family. Or was she really from Germany, where she a well-known antiques dealer? Small deviances in her back story spiraled into much larger inconsistencies very quickly.


Instead of being deterred by the growing rumors, it only emboldened her to chase her dreams. In her eyes, it added to her mystique and allure, and there was a little truth to that. Because everyone wanted to know the real Anna, she was being talked about constantly, increasing her visibility. That would ultimately work out to her advantage, as she needed all the help she could muster to pull off her vision.

The Anna Delvey Foundation

Her goal was to establish a lavish art club called The Anna Delvey Foundation. To help her, she decided to hire Future Corp, a digital creative agency ran by London-based Marc Kremers. He was placed in charge of the branding for her project, and she also started looking for the perfect location. After scouting multiple high-profile locations, she settled on a location near Gramercy Park.


The only catch was, she didn’t have the money on hand to purchase the property. She was told that she would have to pull out loans in the millions of dollars, but that didn’t deter her in the slightest. Her financial partner noted that she had substantial personal assets outside of the United States, and that she would be able to pay the loan back.

Famous Connections

Unable to purchase the property, she started trying to raise the money herself through her parties. This meant inviting even wealthier guests that she could woo, including Martin Shkreli. For those that don’t remember, he’s famous for acquiring the manufacturing license for a prescription drug and raising the price from 13.50 per pill to 750. When he was arrested for securities fraud, it was estimated that his net worth was around $70 million dollars.


As someone who is used to hanging around other millionaires, he didn’t think she felt out of place. In fact, the opposite was true, as he stated that he felt nervous and awkward around her. Getting to know him ended up being somewhat fruitful for her, as she learned a few tricks from the now infamous felon.

Starting to Fall Apart

Neff Davis started realizing something was wrong one night when she was having dinner with her friend. When the bill came and Anna tried to pay it, her credit card was quickly declined. When she tried to pay with a different one, it resulted in the same outcome, again and again. Around 12 total different cards were declined, and Neff thought that was odd considering the hotel didn’t have a single one on file for her.


Because they assumed she was rich, they had let her stay all that time without getting payment information from her. They just thought she would be able to front her bill. When they demanded that she pay up, she told them that she would make a wire transfer to them. After weeks passed, the hotel still hadn’t seen a single dime. The manager asked Neff to deal with it, since she was so close with her.

Temporary Relief

All in all, Anna owed the hotel around $30,000 dollars, and Neff went to go talk to her about it. She again promised that the wire transfer was coming, but time was quickly running out. All of a sudden, the hotel did end up receiving the promised $30,000, but this didn’t keep them from demanding for a valid credit card.


After she continued to dodge the issue, the hotel ended up locking her out of her room. This infuriated her, as she couldn’t believe that someone could ever treat her like that. That’s when the previously friendly woman suddenly turned malicious, and she pulled out a play straight from Martin Shkreli’s playbook.

Vague Threats

Shkreli was a known instigator, and he often bought domain names associated with people he didn’t like just so he could troll them. First, he would start posting things on those sites to make fun of his targets, and then he would offer to sell it back to them. This is precisely what Anna tried to do.


She threatened the hotel managers that she would buy domains in their names and force them to buy them back. This was the first time that anyone had ever seen her like this in public, and many were taken aback. Neff realized that she should have seen something like that coming, since Anna was someone who actually defended Shkreli’s actions. Everything was falling apart very quickly, including when she decided to take a trip across the world to Morocco.

Detained Overseas

She had originally made plans to travel with two friends, but one of her companions ended up having to return to the US early because of food poisoning. Presumably, she was going to try to get her travelling partner to pay her bill, because she wasn’t able to pay the hotel herself once she was ready to come home herself.


Her unnamed friend got a call from Anna after she had arrived back in the United States. It seemed that when she tried to check out of her hotel, Anna couldn’t get her credit cards to go through. She begged her to borrow one of hers, or risk having the police getting involved. When those cards were declined as well, the hotel decided that something might have been wrong with the system.

Trying Old Tricks

Now back in New York once more, Anna tried to use her same hotel trick to find a new place to stay, since the 11 Howard was already on to her non-paying ways. This time, she was only able to run up a $10,000 debt before she was kicked out onto the street again. A third attempt to stay at a hotel resulted in the same outcome.


Without any other options, she tried to stay with her friend that had gotten food poisoning in Morocco. That’s when it was revealed that her unpaid trip ended up falling on their third acquaintance. The total bill was $62,000, which was more than what she made in twelve months. Knowing that information, she kicked Anna out of her place.

The Truth Starts Coming Out

When Anna tried to stay with other friends, they slowly started realizing that she was conning everyone. They ended up organizing an intervention to try to get to the bottom of the truth. She continued with her story that the money was coming, and she just needed a little more time. They remained unconvinced, and one of them called the New York District Attorney’s Office.


That person was Rachel Williams, who was the friend who was forced to put Anna’s Morocco vacation on her card. The authorities quickly realized that the claims that the seemingly rich woman was nothing more than a con artist, and she quickly got arrested for her unpaid hotel bills. The next day, papers all around the city were reporting on the outlandish story.

Trying to Skip Out

Anna made bail and got enough money to travel to California, but was arrested again. This time, she was imprisoned in Rikers Island without bail. Now that she was fully in custody, her real identity was finally revealed to the world. Her last name wasn’t Delvey, and she wasn’t from Germany.


It turns out that her real name was Anna Sorokin, and she was born in 1991 as a Russian citizen. Her family moved to Germany around 2007, and that’s when the real bombshell hit. She wasn’t from a wealthy family, and both of her parents were clueless when asked about at trust fund. They were working-class people who didn’t have that kind of money on hand.

Trying to Sweet Talk the Situation

Trying to weasel her way out of the situation, she tried to make a plea offer of one to three years in prison. The judge was unimpressed, believing that it would have been nothing more than a slap on the wrist. When a counter-offer was made three to nine years, Anna chose to go to trial instead. In retrospect, she should have taken the offer.


In April of 2019, Sorokin was found guilty of second-degree larceny, theft of services, and one count of first-degree attempted grand larceny. She was also given a sentence of 4 to 12 years in prison, and was told that she would have to pay back around $199,000 of restitution money. While one might assume this would have been the last anyone would hear of “Anna Delvey”, that didn’t happen.

Inner Workings of a Scam

It was discovered that she had racked up tremendous debt and bounced numerous checks to live the way that she did. Nobody really knows if she ever intended on actually paying back the people she swindled, though it might have had to do something with her planned Art club. After all, if she had managed to get the Anna Delvey Foundation off the ground, she might have started to make enough to keep the suspicions at bay.


The ironic thing is, people are still talking about her to this day. A profile was written about her in 2018 by New York magazine, and filmmaker Shonda Rhimes is producing a Netflix based on the article. Not to be left out, HBO and actress Lena Durham are producing their own project as well, based on the account of Rachel Williams in her book “My Friend Anna”.

Happily Ever After?

As for Anna Sorokin, she is currently in Rikers prison and still causing trouble. She has reportedly been cited multiple times for breaking prison rules. She is also writing her own memoirs, one about her time in New York and another detailing her life behind bars.


Will she ever learn her lesson? It seems unlikely, and one can probably assume she’s already thinking of ways to dodge the $200 thousand bill that the judge gave her. Seeing as she only got sentenced less than half a year ago, her story is probably far from over. At the very least, one can hope that she won’t be able to hurt anyone else ever again.