Anna Sorokin: Fake heiress apologises as she is sentenced
A German woman who posed as a billionaire heiress to swindle New York hotels and banks has been sentenced to at least four years in prison.
"I apologise for the mistakes I made," Anna Sorokin, 28, said shortly before she learned her fate.
She was found guilty in April of theft of services and grand larceny, having stolen more than $200,000 (£153,580).
Sorokin, who rejected a plea deal, may face deportation to Germany.
She was sentenced on Thursday at Manhattan Supreme Court to between four and 12 years in prison. The actual amount of time she will serve behind bars will depend on factors such as her behaviour.
Sorokin will receive credit for time already served, having been in custody at New York's notorious Rikers Island jail since October 2017.
She was also fined $24,000 and ordered to pay restitution of about $199,000.
At the hearing, Judge Diane Kiesel rejected the defence lawyers' claim that Sorokin was merely trying to make it in New York, in the words of the Frank Sinatra song about the city.
The judge said the Sorokin case instead reminded her of the Bruce Springsteen song, Blinded by the Light.
"She was blinded by the glitter and glamour of New York City," said Judge Kiesel, according to Buzzfeed.
The judge reportedly also said she was "stunned" by the depths of Sorokin's deception.
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Under her assumed name Anna Delvey, Sorokin falsely claimed she had a multi-million dollar trust fund at her disposal, as she hired a private jet, attended elite parties, and lived in a luxury New York hotel. She maintained the scam for almost four years.
Meanwhile, prosecutors said, Sorokin had "not a cent to her name". Her father is reportedly a former trucker, who runs a heating-and-cooling business.
In court, her defence attorney, Todd Spodek, claimed that Sorokin had been "buying time" as she worked to pay back her debts. He maintained that Sorokin had no criminal intent but was instead an ambitious entrepreneur.
According to court documents, Sorokin used her phony persona as a German heiress with $60m in assets to try to get a loan of $22m for a foundation in her name. She presented forged bank statements and would deposit bad cheques, then withdraw the money before they bounced.
Prosecutors say she went on a one-month shopping spree, spending $55,000 on a luxury hotel, high-end fashion purchases, personal trainer sessions, and Apple, among other personal expenses.
Assistant District Attorney Catherine McCaw said Sorokin had shown "almost no remorse".
Following a month-long trial, a jury convicted Sorokin on eight counts.
But she was found not guilty of attempted grand larceny and stealing more than $60,000 from a friend who paid for a luxury holiday in Morocco.
Even up to her sentencing, Sorokin appeared intent on carefully crafting her image.
She worked with a stylist, Anastasia Walker, to create her courtroom look during the trial.
The initial story about Sorokin's swindling by New York Magazine was swiftly optioned by Netflix.
The production has been linked with Shonda Rhimes, who created TV hit shows Grey's Anatomy and Scandal.