Opening statements were made in the "Socialite Grifter" trial on Wednesday, and both sides provided extremely different reasons why Anna Sorokin allegedly scammed a number of people and institutions out of $275,000.
Her lawyer Todd Spodek explained, "In her world this is what her social circle did. Everyone’s life was perfectly curated for social media. People were fake. People were phony. And money was made on hype alone.”
Prosecutors, however, painted a different picture of Sorokin's alleged misdeeds: "In short, she stole, she stole from banks, she stole from hotels, she stole from friends, she tried to steal from a hedge fund."
Sorokin, 28, is accused of committing grand larceny to fund her lavish lifestyle under the assumed name Anna Delvey, claiming to be a German heiress who wanted to open a 45,000-square foot arts foundation while living in boutique hotels and taking trips on the international party circuit. She allegedly faked bank statements to show she had tens of millions in her account and used loans to pay for luxury shopping, a personal trainer, and her hotel stays.
Her apparent fraud has sparked the interest of Hollywood, where both a movie and a Netflix series, produced by Shonda Rhimes, are being developed.
Spodek rationalized Sorokin's modus operandi by implying she just had a lot of chutzpah, saying that she "believed that she would have the funds to pay every single person back," according to the Daily News.
He even tried to justify her actions by implying she was just following a vision board: "Through her sheer ingenuity, she created a life she wanted for herself. Unorthodox, possibly unethical, but this is the life she’s chosen to live."
The Post noted that Spodek even brought up Ol' Blue Eyes, telling the jury, "Frank Sinatra said, ‘I’ll make a brand new start of it in old New York, if I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere’ because the opportunities in New York are endless," and "Anna had to kick down the door to get her chance at life. Just like Sinatra had to do it his way, Anna had to do it her way."
Sorokin, who declined a plea deal, faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted. U.S. Immigration Customs and Enforcement says it will deport her as soon as she is free, because she has overstayed her visa.