Anna Sorokin cries during sentencing at New York State Supreme Court in New York, May 9, 2019. (New York Post via AP/Pool)
NEW YORK (AP) - Anna Sorokin, the German con artist who passed herself off as a wealthy heiress to swindle banks, hotels and even close friends as she lived out a high-society, Instagram-ready fantasy in New York, was sentenced Thursday to four to 12 years in prison.
The 28-year-old, who had played with her own tabloid image during the trial by wearing stylish dresses to court, looked despondent as the verdict was announced. She pressed her hand to her face and squeezed her eyes shut, appearing to hold back tears.
Judge Diane Kiesel said Sorokin had been "blinded by the glitter and glamour of New York City" as she turned to fraud to finance a life she could never afford. But she turned down a request by Sorokin's lawyers that she be sentenced to the time she has already spent in jail awaiting trial.
"I am stunned by the depth of the defendant's deception," Kiesel said.
Sorokin was convicted last month on multiple counts of grand larceny and theft of services and has been in custody since her October 2017 arrest.
Moments before she was sentenced, Sorokin briefly addressed the court, saying, "I apologize for the mistakes I made."
Sorokin went by Anna Delvey when she defrauded financial institutions and Manhattan celebrities into believing she had a fortune of $67 million (60 million euros) overseas that could cover her jet-setting lifestyle, high-end clothing and lavish hotel stays. She falsely claimed her father was a diplomat or an oil baron, falsified bank records and forged her identity to further the scam.
Her ruse included an application for a $22 million loan to fund a private arts club, complete with exhibitions, installations and pop-up shops, prosecutors said. She was denied that loan but persuaded one bank to lend her $100,000 that she failed to repay.
In all, prosecutors accused her of stealing some $275,000, including a $35,400 bill she failed to pay for a plane she chartered to and from the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska.
She went to great lengths to ensure others paid her way, even as she had "not a cent to her name, as far as we can determine," prosecutor Catherine McCaw said following Sorokin's arrest.
But jurors acquitted her of two counts, including an allegation that she promised a friend an all-expenses-paid trip to Morocco and then stuck her with the $62,000 bill. She was also found not guilty of one of the most serious charges in the indictment: attempting to steal more than $1 million from City National Bank.
Manhattan convicted Sorokin of four counts of theft of services, three counts of grand larceny and one count of attempted grand larceny following a monthlong trial that drew international attention and tabloid headlines about Sorkin's courtroom fashion.
Her defense attorney, Todd Spodek, argued that Sorokin had been "buying time" and planned to settle her debts. He said she lacked criminal intent and was an ambitious entrepreneur.