Fake It Until You Make It!: The Crimes and Trial of Anna Sorokin (Delvey)

Fake It Until You Make It!: The Crimes and Trial of Anna Sorokin (Delvey)

Copyright: © 2023 |Pages: 16
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-9668-5.ch004
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The chapter will provide an overview of the life, crimes, and trial of Anna Sorokin better known as Anna Delvey. Anna had invented a false persona and life so that people would think she was a rich German heiress instead of her real identity of a woman from a working-class Russian family. Anna used her false identity to defraud banks, hotels, and friends for about $275,000. Anna's life became internationally known with her story being published in major news and media articles including podcasts, 60 Minutes, HBO, a $300,000 book deal to her former friend Rachel Williams, and a $320,000 Netflix deal for Anna. Anna was arrested and convicted in 2019 and was sentenced to four to 12 years in New York State. After her release from prison, she was arrested again by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and held for overstaying her visa.
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Con Artists

This is not the first con artist to become nationally and internationally infamous. The media and especially pop culture has helped create an obsession with conmen and conwomen for decades, in fiction and nonfictional stories. These stories include The Sting (1973) a film about professional conmen, and more recently the award-winning Catch Me If You Can (2002) starring Leonardo DiCaprio, and Oceans Eleven (2001) with a star-studded cast including Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Julia Roberts, and Matt Damon which was a remake of a movie from the 1960s. These con artists often have lots of charisma and charm like Anna, and these movies based on the lives of con artists really helped highlight and even exaggerate these characteristics. Even Williams a former friend turned witness against Anna stated that Anna is “Clever, She can Be Funny… Amusing”. As the American dream focuses on people becoming successful from nothing, these con artists do that in a unique way and use their personality and lies to get wealthy, and used the ”fake it until you make it” slogan in criminal ways.

A con artist is a person who attempts to defraud an individual, business, or group of individuals by tricking them and gaining their trust (Dugatkin, 1992). The con artists use confidence tricks so they can exploit their victims by accessing their compassion, greed, confidence, vanity, naivete, and or credulity among other tactics. The ‘con’ is short for confidence in the name con, con man, con woman, con artist, etc. A con is also known by other names including a swindle, a scam, a grift, a hustle, among others names.

The purpose of these confidence tricks is to defraud a person by making the victim voluntarily exchange something without the victim knowing the true intent. The confidence trick first appears to be of mutual benefit to both parties but in actuality, it is not mutually beneficial but benefits the con artist at the expense of the victim(s). There are different types of cons including a short con and a long con, Anna was involved in the long or big con, which takes usually days, weeks, months or years to successfully complete, and is meant to take advantage of large sums of money or assets from the victim(s) (Konnikova, 2017).

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