Fake heiress Anna Sorokin fights deportation to Germany

German citizen made famous by Inventing Anna Netflix series fights deportation after release from US prison

Anna Sorokin sits at the defence table during jury deliberations in her trial at the New York State Supreme Court on April 25, 2019. AP
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Anna Sorokin, who gained notoriety as the young Russian-German woman who defrauded wealthy New Yorkers while pretending to be an heiress, has said she would fight deportation to Germany after her recent release from prison.

Sorokin, 31, whose story inspired a series on Netflix and who has been a social media phenomenon, was freed on bail late o Friday and immediately placed under house arrest, with an ankle bracelet, in her modest Manhattan apartment.

She had spent the past year and a half in a detention centre north of New York City, operated by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, after she was convicted of overstaying her tourist visa.

Sorokin was first arrested in 2017, then sentenced in 2019 to two years in a New York detention centre on charges including grand larceny.

No sooner had she served that sentence — she was released early for good behaviour — than ICE agents detained her.

Since February she has faced a deportation order to Germany, but in a weekend interview in her Manhattan building with The New York Times, Sorokin said she was fighting to stay in the US.

"Letting them deport me would have been like a sign of capitulation — confirmation of this perception of me as this shallow person who only cares about obscene wealth, and that's just not the reality," she told the Times.

"I could have left but I chose not to because I'm trying to fix what I've done wrong. I have so much history in New York and I felt like if I were in Europe, I'd be running from something."

Passing herself off in 2016 and 2017 as Anna Delvey, a German heiress who claimed to have a fortune of $60 million, Sorokin insinuated herself into the upper reaches of New York society, persuading members of the elite to invest in an exclusive arts club bearing her name.

Anna Sorokin arrives for sentencing at New York State Supreme Court on May 9, 2019. AP

She had a rare talent for spinning elaborate lies with a poise that made them seem believable.

Sorokin obtained tens of thousands of dollars in loans, free trips on a private jet and accommodation in some of New York's swankiest boutique hotels.

In all, prosecutors said, she swindled the unsuspecting out of $275,000.

The Russian-born Sorokin, who holds German citizenship, is the daughter of a lorry driver and a shopkeeper who emigrated to Germany in 2007.

In her oversized designer glasses that were a trademark, she frequented the fashion worlds of London and Paris before moving to New York in 2013 for Fashion Week.

Her story eventually caught the attention of American producer Shonda Rhimes who turned it into the Netflix miniseries Inventing Anna, starring Julia Garner.

Updated: October 10, 2022, 5:14 AM