The Golden Age of Grifters

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Curated by informed

The story of New York celebrity swindler Anna Sorokin – now coming up on Netflix – feels like a symbol of our time.

  • She fooled New York’s high society – for years. Anna Sorokin, daughter of a Russian truck driver, successfully pretended to be a German billionaire heiress. Now her story is portrayed on Netflix.
  • Going by the name of Anna Delvey she lived in hotels she could not pay for, dined in restaurants she could not afford and applied for giant bank loans. It took a long time before her scheme blew up.
  • Sorokin is part of a bigger phenomenon neglected throughout history – cases of female scammers who skillfully make their way through a world dominated by men. A new book tells their stories.
  • But the symbolism of Sorokin’s fraud goes beyond that. Sociologists are pointing out that a mixture of social media, admiration for glamour and greed provides the perfect backdrop for impostors.
  • In this reading we explore the mind-blowing world of Anna Sorokin aka Anna Delvey. We also have a look at other historical cases and analyze the conditions grifters like them are thriving on.
The New York Times
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4 articles on this topic

The Cut

How an Aspiring ‘It’ Girl Tricked New York’s Party People — and Its Banks

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32 min read

Why do con artists and fraudsters fascinate us?

4 min read
Daily Mail

Author shares the glamorous lives of female con artists over the centuries

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16 min read
4 min read