Coming to terms with Anna Sorokin

Cover of After the Fall Crisis, Recovery and the Making of a New SpainMy Friend Anna: The true story of the fake heiress of New York City

By Rachel DeLoache Williams
Published by Quercus, £16.99

Anna Sorokin made headlines when she was arrested for posing as a German heiress who cut a swathe through New York, running up huge unpaid hotel and restaurant bills, and conning people out of money. She was convicted in May and sentenced to between four and 12 years in jail for fraud. This book tells the story of one of her victims, who was conned out of more than $60,000.

The author is a former Vanity Fair photo editor who met Sorokin in a chance encounter. The two quickly became friends and Sorokin took Williams on jaunts to a series of restaurants, hotels and spas. When a problem with Sorokin’s credit card threatened to derail a holiday they were on, Williams was persuaded to hand over her credit card on the understanding that she would immediately be repaid. Instead, she not only found herself liable for the entire bill, but also failed to receive any funds, despite a constant stream of excuses, lies and promises.

Williams is a solid writer who does a good job of explaining how she, and other intelligent people, could be taken in by such a crook. The most interesting parts of the book are those that deal with the aftermath of the holiday, and Williams’ gradual realisation that Sorokin was a systematic fraud, rather than merely an unreliable, spoilt rich kid. The book is a powerful reminder that you should think twice before trusting even friends with large sums of your money.