A German-Russian woman who passed herself off as an heiress has been convicted of multiple charges in New York, for stealing over $200,000 and attempting to make off with millions more.
"As proven at trial, Anna Sorokin committed real white-collar felonies over the course of her lengthy masquerade," District Attorney Cyrus Vance said in a statement announcing the conviction.
Sorokin, 28, invented a new identity upon her 2016 arrival in the United States, presenting herself as an heiress when she was in fact the daughter of a Russian truck driver who moved to Germany at the age of 16.
Through clever lies and incredible self-confidence, Sorokin, who now faces up to 15 years in prison, received tens of thousands of dollars in loans from several banks.
From November 2016 to August 2017, she managed to travel for free on private planes and lived for months at luxury Manhattan hotels without paying the bill, according to New York prosecutors, who accused her of stealing a total of $275,000.
As she became more enmeshed with the New York City elite, Sorokin focused on an ambitious project to open an upscale nightclub that doubled as an art gallery.
She tried to borrow $22 million in order to launch it after convincing a powerful promoter to provide a venue on the prestigious Park Avenue.
Sorokin's attorney Todd Spodek likened her to Frank Sinatra, saying: "In a city that favours money and the appearance of money ... they both created their own opportunities."
"She was creating a business that she believed would work and she was buying time," her attorney argued.