Anna Delvey, a Russian-born con artist, posed as a wealthy German heiress to trick New York’s elite out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Delvey was born in a working-class town in Russia in 1991. She emigrated to Germany with her family at the age of 16 and attended art school in London and Paris. In 2013, she moved to New York City and began posing as a wealthy German heiress with a $60 million trust fund.
Delvey claimed to be the daughter of a diplomat or an oil baron, and she used this to create the illusion of wealth. She leased a luxury apartment in Manhattan, dined at expensive restaurants, and traveled first class. She also claimed to be working on a private members’ club and art foundation called the Anna Delvey Foundation, but she was unable to secure funding for the project.
To finance her lifestyle, Delvey used fake bank statements to obtain loans and credit. She also tricked hotels and restaurants into giving her free services. She owed friends and acquaintances thousands of dollars.
Delvey’s scams eventually caught up to her. In 2017, she was arrested and charged with grand larceny, larceny in the second degree, and theft of services. She was found guilty in 2019 and sentenced to four to twelve years in prison.
Delvey was released on parole in February 2021, but she was arrested again by immigration officials in March 2021. She is currently in immigration detention, awaiting deportation to Germany.
Delvey’s story has been the subject of books, articles, and a Netflix miniseries. She has been called a “con artist,” a “fraudster,” and a “socialite.” Whether she is a victim or a villain, Delvey’s story is a cautionary tale about the dangers of greed and deception.