Netflix paid fake socialite Anna Delvey $320k for Inventing Anna, most went to victims

The Inventing Anna series from Shonda Rhimes was released on Netflix a few days ago. So far I’ve only seen the first episode. It’s loosely based on the fascinating story of the fake German/Russian heiress, Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin, who conned her way into New York society a few years ago and bilked friends, banks and hotels. The journalist in the series, played by Anna Chlumsky, is largely a fabrication.

Sorokin was released on parole in February, 2021 after serving her time on a four to 12 year sentence for multiple counts of grand larceny and theft. She is now in an ICE facility in upstate New York, awaiting news on whether she will be deported to Germany after overstaying her visa. Sorokin wrote an essay for Insider earlier thi smonth revealing that she has covid, complaining bitterly about her situation and stating that she won’t watch the Netflix series. This is despite the fact that Netflix paid Delvey/Sorokin a lump sum of $320,000 for her story. Apparently most of that went to the victims under the “Son of Sam” law which stipulates criminals cannot profit from their crimes. There may still be some money left over, according to Deadline. Here’s Deadline’s report:

She rose in notoriety among New York’s elite, claiming to be a German heiress with a 60 million trust fund fortune. Her story became national headlines in 2018 after New York Magazine ran a story about her plan to create a mixed use space by borrowing money from banks. During Sorokin’s life as a jet setter she obtained hundreds of thousands from her wealthy friends with the promise of paying them back–but never did.

Her scheme came to a screeching halt in 2017 when she was arrested for grand-larceny charges and found guilty in 2019. Of the 320,000 Sorkin received from Netflix she paid 199,000 in restitution, 24,000 in state fines, and 75,000 in attorney fees. After she paid the restitution, the courts let her keep what little is left.

[From Deadline]

That leaves $22,000 for Sorokin, along with whatever she made for writing that self pitying article for Insider and other side deals she’s surely making. This woman is a con artist and a hustler and she’s not going to stop. As for the series, I am not sure I’ll keep watching it. I find Anna Chlumsky’s character annoying and over the top. That’s due to the writers, it’s not Chlumsky’s fault. Julia Garner is fabulous and hilarious as Sorokin. Apparently she nailed Sorokin’s weird Russian/German accent.

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Photos credit: Getty and Nicole Rivelli/Netflix

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38 Responses to “Netflix paid fake socialite Anna Delvey $320k for Inventing Anna, most went to victims”

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  1. pottymouth pup says:

    how is she permitted to get any of the money that’s left over? this was for a story about her life of crime so even the 22K would be profiting from her crimes

    Also, it’s “interesting” that she’s awaiting a decision on deportation. if she wasn’t white, we all know that decision would have been made prior to her trial & she’d have been deported upon completing her sentence. As it is, I won’t be surprised if she’s permitted to stay with a brand new “work visa” to work as a “legal fund coordinator” or “fundraiser” for Peter Theil, The Trumps or the RNC

    • Amelie says:

      She appealed her deportation and applied for asylum which is why she hasn’t been automatically deported. She is stuck in legal ICE custody limbo/jail as her case makes its way through the slow immigration courts. Sure, she definitely benefits from being white but I don’t think they are speeding up her case any faster than anyone else stuck in ICE custody who has applied for asylum. She overstayed her visa while she was in jail serving her sentence (?) so they put her back in jail for that it seems… it’s all very confusing.

      • theotherViv says:

        wow can someone explain how one can apply for asylum being from Germany? We don’t really want her back over here, but she can’t exactly claim she would be in danger or anything like that returning? The most dangerous thing happening to her in Germany would be something like getting hit by a bus.

  2. Snuffles says:

    I watched the whole thing. It found it equal parts fascinating and frustrating. I actually enjoyed watching journalists be REAL journalists, doing the work and having journalistic standards.

    But I found myself screaming at her friends CONSTANTLY making excuses for her and believing her BS is the face of enormous evidence that she was scamming them. I can understand the people she scammed and dipped on. They no longer fucked with her once they found her out. But I wanted to strangle people like Neff.

    • Leanne says:

      I keep thinking she infiltrated the wealth social circles. Why didn’t she just land a rich boy to marry? Then, she could’ve kept up her scheme.

      • MelOn says:

        She’d still be an outsider, if she comes from the same place /background she’s accepted. She wanted to be one of them. The crazy thing is that if she tried to do this with backers and as a normal person, she had a good idea, she probably could have pulled it off.

      • maddy says:

        She couldn’t have just married someone – they would have found out her real name and that there was no trust.

    • Mädchen says:

      Journalistic standards like cheering for the criminal grifter for being found innocent on a couple of the charges?

      This whole series was a mess but I should have known it was going to be as it was from Shonda Rhimes. I cannot believe she painted Sorokin in such a positive way.

      And what gives about how the friend Rachel she ripped off got such a bad portrayal from Rhimes?

      • Mer says:

        Yeah, I really enjoyed the show up until the last two episodes. I’m like, “How is the girl she stole $62,000 from somehow the bad guy?” And then suddenly the other reporters are glad she was found not guilty on some of the charges? It seemed like maybe some scenes were cut or something because it went from Anna’s a grifting POS to the victim with like no explanation for that change in attitude.

    • Mac says:

      The podcast Fake Heiress does a great deep-dive into the story. The Netflix series fabricated so much that the truly bizarre nature of the real life story gets lost.

  3. LeaveMeAlone says:

    Most Rich people dont care how their money grows or comes from, for example speculation on WATER!!! and so on. Diamonds and Gold are still popular even though more people know where they come from and how people are working like slaves in these terrible mines. So i really don’t feel so bad for these wealthy people who were so impressed by a woman who claimed to be one of them. None of these people will end on the streets i guess but i don’t know a lot about this story so i only came to give my 2 cents about feeling sorry for rich people in these cycles.

    • SomeChick says:

      the magazine reporter is not rich. just gullible.
      altho, probably not as gullible now!

      Anna is bound to have some steep tax bills to pay. hopefully she winds up with nothing.

    • Denise says:

      Why didn’t they pay Twindlers victims, it’s their most viewed documentary for weeks now and those ladies had to start a GoFundMe

  4. Tw says:

    Perhaps unpopular opinion, but Shondaland always turns female characters into caricatures . I watched the series this weekend and the reporter character was so over the top and hysterical it was bordering on misogyny to portray her this way. I hope someone does a serious film on this because the style of this series ruined a fascinating story.

    • Driver8 says:

      When I saw that Shonda Rhimes was attached to this, I decided to pass.

      • Sally says:

        Not an unpopular opinion, I watched like 20 minutes before I turned it off. It doesn’t feel like watching “real” or even purposefully exaggerated characters, it’s watching badly written characters and I should have listened to my instincts and done the same as Driver8 when I read who was behind the series.

    • Gertrude says:

      I agree. Initially, the characters intrigue me, until they totally exhaust me.

      • Noki says:

        Unpopular Opinion…hated How to get away…,Scandal was sooo ridiculous and Kerry Washingtons portrayal was grating and i didnt even bother with Greys Anatomy. I really dont like Shondalands style of soapy storry telling. This could have been a great mini series with grittier production and perfomances.

    • Harper says:

      @Tw your comment is spot on. That scene where the reporter was wailing and screaming on the ultrasound table about her career being ruined because her baby was now real or whatever the point was? I’m hoping the real life reporter doesn’t actually have a daughter who will now have to wonder if she was really wanted.

  5. Happy_Fat_Mama says:

    Question. In the Tinder Swindler, it was explained that one of the reasons the scammer got away with it was that victims “gave” their money to him, and therefore he didn’t commit a crime. The swindeler did claim that he would pay back the victims, and he did manipulate and lie and threaten them, but still the women in the documentary say they were told by police that there’s no crime, because they “gave” away their money. Wasn’t he ultimately arrested for using a fake passport? Why is Sorokin held accountable for scams, while the tinder swindler is not?

    Anyhow, the CBC just ran and article about how romance scams are in the rise in Canada. I sympathize with the victims.

    • heygingersnaps says:

      Because he didn’t try to scam his way into having banks loan him millions of dollars. I don’t think he bailed out on hotels & other services as well. So it was down to the individuals that he conned money out off and more often than not it’s quite difficult to prove those things.

    • MelOn says:

      She got away with scamming her friend for the same reason, she “let ” her use her credit card. What I didn’t like about this was that the friend got trashed by everyone because she helped the cops set her up. I wanted to slap Neff and the fitness trainer, the belief that she was wrong to set her up. She didn’t have the capacity to let 62k slide but buying a few dresses and dinners should have made that ok. I also found the use of ” white womens/girls tears” as a reason to excuse what she did frustrating. She’s a user, a thief and a liar, why are we supposed to feel sorry for her?

    • AmelieOriginal says:

      Anna didn’t pay a bunch of exorbitant hotel bills and used bad checks and canceled cards to try to pay. From what I remember this is what led to her arrest, not because she scammed any one individual. I’m not sure any of the charges included people like her ex friend Rachel who got stiffed with the 60,000 hotel bill in Marrakech.

  6. milliemollie says:


    “The most serious charge related to the fraudulent loan application made to City National Bank and Fortress Investment Group, with the other larceny charges relating to the instances of check fraud and the incident in Morocco.” (Source is Anna Sorokin’s wikipedia page)

  7. heygingersnaps says:

    This is probably the first time in a long time that I hate watched a program.
    I couldn’t believe that in the end they were rooting for her and sanitising what she’d done. She’s like the female bernie madoff, she is a psychopath and a deluded narcissist to be able to con her way into having people give her money or steal credit cards.
    No matter the victim, be it rich or poor, doesn’t matter, they are still a victim.

  8. Izzy says:

    How is it still up in the air that she should be deported?

    • Leanne says:

      She appealed the decision. That’s why it’s in a holding pattern. Due process rights

      • Booboochile says:

        Yeah but brown criminals don’t get such rights as due process. One simply finds themselves in Cambodia or Equador with just the clothes on their back and a heart eff you…shrugs. It is what it is.

  9. MissMarirose says:

    It was not a good series. The episodes were way too long, going over each victim’s story repetitively. And, as others have said, Anna Chlumsky did not portray the reporter well; all her face-mugging came off badly.

  10. Willow says:

    Ugh! I’ve made it through episode 3 and have to watch the rest to see what happens to her con artist boyfriend. Did he only scam rich people who didn’t want to press charges? And is he really in Dubai working for one of the many sheikhs? I must know. And the reporter’s over acting is ridiculous. Even Anna said ‘what’s with that face?!’

  11. Sue says:

    I’d like to watch this series as I’m a fan of both Garner and Chlumsky, but I’d rather watch it from the point of view of the victims. That remaining money should go to the victims but 22K’s probably nothing compared to what Sorokin grifted.

    • souperkay says:

      The victims were mostly banks. One heiress she scammed took care of it outside the legal system, the other friend she scammed in Morocco was part of the indictment but Anna was found not guilty.

      Anna wasn’t scamming individuals, she was scamming organizations with the lie that she had a trust fund that could be used as security but the trust fund didn’t exist. She was also skipping around expensive hotels based on her non-existent trust fund & not leaving credit cards to charge. Organizations, not individuals.

      She was trying to get banks to give her personally, not an LLC or non-profit or other business entity, a $40 million loan so she could then create the Anna Delvey Foundation arthouse, again using her non-existent trust fund as security. This means paperwork she filled out that is legally binding was fraudulent. She faked bank statements saying she had a 60 million Euro trust fund. Again, organizations, not individuals.

      She was trying to be an heiress businesswoman without the assets to actually do the thing.

  12. AmelieOriginal says:

    The journalist in the series is loosely based on the original reporter of the New York article by Jessica Pressler “How Anna Delvey tricked New York’s Party People.” She isn’t too much of a fabrication. There are a lot of similarities, including the fact that Pressler was hugely pregnant as she was working on the story and had written a story about a high school student who supposedly made millions from trading stocks which was later found to be completely false. Bloomberg did rescind its job offer when that scandal came out but Pressler redeemed herself by writing the Hustlers article which got made into a movie and then doing Anna Delvey.

    I have watched about half the series and I agree that the journalist character is hugely annoying. I don’t know if it’s the actor or the writing but she is such a caricature of an overeager, hungry journalist who basically wants Anna to go to trial for the sole reason that she can have a big story to redeem herself from her previous professional humiliation. But I enjoy all the other characters and I love Julia Garner as Anna, weird accent and all. And I don’t feel sorry for the rich people that were conned but I do find it fascinating that a basic looking white girl with blonde hair and a weird accent who happened to dress well and throw around hundreds in cash managed to con New York’s elite for so long.

  13. MissKitten(is my cats name) says:

    I too found the whole journalist-who’s – pregnant-AND-having-a-difficult-pregnancy-to-boot-OMG-the-drama-has-like-QUADRUPLED more than a little heavy handed. Anna/Julie’s accent was also driving me bananas (I’ve been to Germany 3 times and never heard anyone speak like that) until I found that Anna is actually a Russian national and THAT is likely the reason for the wonky accent.

  14. AMJ says:

    They wasted a fascinating story. The whole thing felt badly written, with the journalist arc being a bad fanfic level bad. Chlumsky was chewing the scenery all the time, her facial movements all over the place – she seemed to be playing a different genre of TV than Garner & Moayed were. As if they were trying to do actual serious TV and she was playing in a trashy sitcom. Couldn’t watch her.

  15. Lux says:

    I watched one episode and didn’t hate it but I was disappointed that it wasn’t an actual documentary a la the Tinder Swindler. I read The Cut and Vanity Fair articles when they first came out and the point of interest for me was always how ordinary Anna looked—that despite wearing designer labels she always looked frumpy and how her bad hair was a dead giveaway. Truly a sad alternative here as the actress is way too pretty to pull it off.

  16. Tara says:

    I am enjoying this show so much! Shonda Rhimes is just such a fantastic producer and story teller. And I just realized who Anna Delvey reminds me of: Lindsay Lohan. She and her grifting shameless family invented this kind of unfounded entitlement. Except, Anna didn’t seem like she had to sleep her way to the top.