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Understanding White Collar Crimes Through the Lens of Anna Delvey

White collar crime

Fraud is often a misunderstood criminal charge, but a new Netflix documentary is shedding light on the reality of fraud and the criminal process for offenders. Keep reading to find out more about fraud, media, and faux socialite, Anna Delvey.


The 2000s showcased the rise and fall of the nouveau riche. Celebrities like Paris Hilton and the Kardashians regularly made headlines and pop culture was for the young and wealthy. However, a parallel shift away from these flashy celebrities was beginning to gain traction.

By the 2010s, new money was out of style and the old money aesthetic was in. As a result, generational wealth won out and socialites from long lines of financiers and businessmen began to take over the public’s attention. This shift would be led by a young woman named Anna Sorokin.

Known better by her alias, Anna Delvey, the soon to be infamous fraudster was born to conservative Russian parents and grew up in Germany. She was destined to be a standout from the start and worked to leave her small beginnings behind to pursue a career in fashion. By her late teens, Anna had moved to Paris to go to university and a few years later, she had secured an entry level writing job at Purple, a French fashion magazine.


Anna, never one to settle for long, moved to New York City and changed her name from Sorokin to Delvey to further separate herself from her upbringing. This change would be the foundation of her empire and the infrastructure for her scheme.

She climbed the NYC social ladder and became a staple in the most exclusive inner circle of the New York elite. Once she had cemented herself as a foreign heiress, she began staying in lavish hotels and tipping with $100 bills to appear as rich as her friends.

Toward the end of her reign as a NYC socialite, Anna owed countless hotels, banks, and famous friends hundreds of thousands of dollars. Anna is known for defrauding her friends, banks, businesses, and the public out of thousands of dollars over the span of a few short years.

Her crimes would land her in Rikers where she spent years awaiting her trial. Following her conviction, Sorokin is not in contact with her parents and they did not attend her trial. Her father has previously stated that he has disowned her thus disconnecting her with her past altogether.

White Collar Crimes

There is a class of criminal offenses associated with corporate and financial offenses called white collar crimes. These acts can happen on a large or small scale and may violate federal and state laws. In most cases, a person convicted of one white collar crime may also be charged with another in the process.

For example, conspiracy to commit fraud and committing fraud go hand-in-hand and some offenses, like RICO may involve more than one individual criminal act like money laundering and wire fraud.

Theft is an umbrella term for a whole class of crimes involving money. Larceny is a general category under theft that involves stealing private property that is tangible and can be carried away as opposed to intangible assets like equity or investments. Anna Delvey was charged of both.

Florida defines theft as knowingly obtaining, using, or attempting to obtain or use another's property, with the intent to permanently or temporarily:

  • deprive the person of the property, or
  • convert the property to an unauthorized use (such as embezzlement or misappropriation)

Despite the short definition, the law covers a broad range of criminality. For example, a person can wrongfully "obtain" or "use" another's property by physically taking an item, but it could also include exercising control over property, obtaining property by fraud or false promises, or making an unauthorized transfer or use of the property. In other words, fraudulently taking ownership of another’s property or lying to an investor or business partner counts as fraud. The term “property" is also broader than it appears and includes real property, individual property, property rights and benefits, and public and private services.

Fraud sentencing often depends on the amount taken and the number of times the crime was committed. Wire fraud is charged by counts which means every email, phone call, text message, or letter sent counts as a separate count. These charges can add up quickly and lead to an increased prison sentence.

A Fierce Defender

Anna Delvey has been immortalized and glamorized through documentaries, dramas, and the media since her arrest and subsequent sentencing but most people accused of fraud face hardship. Being charged with a criminal offense can be devastating, and many white-collar crimes are punished harshly with little mercy.

The Hoffman Firm understands what is at stake in your case, and our attorney has the knowledge and experience you need to protect your future. Contact our firm to find out how we can fight for you.

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