Convicted Con Artist Anna Delvey "Never Had a Fraudulent Intent"
How much did Anna Delvey steal? Learn more about the fake heiress whose story is being retold in the new Netflix limited series "Inventing Anna."
With Inventing Anna hitting Netflix on Feb. 11, viewers will undoubtedly have questions about Anna Sorokin, better known by her pseudonym, "Anna Delvey." How much did Delvey steal? What was she convicted of? Is she getting money from the Netflix show?
The nine-episode series, created by Shonda Rhimes, takes inspiration from the New York Magazine article “How Anna Delvey Tricked New York’s Party People,” which went viral in 2018.
“In Inventing Anna, a journalist with a lot to prove investigates the case of Anna Delvey, the Instagram-legendary German heiress who stole the hearts of New York’s social scene—and stole their money as well,” says Netflix’s synopsis. “But is Anna New York’s biggest con woman or is she simply the new portrait of the American dream?”
How much did Anna Delvey steal?
Prosecutors said that by pretending to be a wealthy German heiress to a $60 million fortune—and falsely claiming to be the daughter of a diplomat or oil baron—Delvey stole around $275,000, according to NBC News.
In April 2019, a Manhattan jury convicted Delvey of four counts of theft services, three counts of grand larceny, and one count of attempted grand larceny. However, she was acquitted of grand larceny and attempted grand larceny.
The following month, New York Judge Diane Kiesel—who said she was “stunned by the depth of the defendant’s deception”—sentenced Delvey to 4–12 years in prison. Delvey was released on parole less than two years later.
In an interview with ABC News last year, Delvey said that she’s “not this dumb, greedy person” and that she was “trying to fix” her debts.
“I never had a fraudulent intent,” she said. “And I guess that’s what should really count.”
How much did Anna Delvey get for "Inventing Anna"?
Netflix shelled out $320,000 to Delvey for the rights to her life story, Insider reported. Initially, New York State froze Delvey’s bank account, using the state’s “Son of Sam” law. That law—passed in 1977 after “Son of Sam” killer David Berkowitz received publishing offers for a memoir—prevents criminals from profiting off the publicity of their crimes.
In January 2021, Albany County Judge Richard Platkin ordered New York’s Office of Victim Services Thursday to unfreeze Delvey’s account after she agreed to pay restitution. She used $199,000 of the Netflix paycheck to pay restitution to banks and $24,000 to pay state fines. She also paid $75,000 in attorney fees, according to Insider.
Dmitriy Shakhnevich, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, told the site that Delvey could have held on to the Netflix money while she appealed her case. “If the appeal would overturn her conviction, all with the judgment—financial and punitive and otherwise—would be gone,” Shakhnevich said.
Audrey A. Thomas, an attorney for Delvey, said that his client wanted to pay up. “She said, ‘You know, I want them to be paid. I didn’t steal the money, but I do owe money, so I’m not going to fight it. That’s not who I am.’”