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Fake German heiress sentenced to 4-12 years behind bars

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Anna Sorokin, the German con artist who passed herself off as a wealthy heiress to swindle banks, hotels and even close friends as she lived out a high-society, Instagram-ready fantasy in New York, was sentenced Thursday to four to 12 years in prison.

The 28-year-old, who had played with her own tabloid image during the trial by wearing stylish dresses to court, looked despondent as the verdict was announced. She pressed her hand to her face and squeezed her eyes shut, appearing to hold back tears.

Judge Diane Kiesel said Sorokin had been “blinded by the glitter and glamour of New York City” as she turned to fraud to finance a life she could never afford. But the judge turned down a request by Sorokin’s lawyers to sentence her to the time she has already spent in jail awaiting trial.

“I am stunned by the depth of the defendant’s deception,” Kiesel said, adding that she hoped to send a message to Sorokin’s internet following “that her behavior is unacceptable.”

“Certainly she didn’t think about the people she scammed,” the judge added.

The sentencing capped a spectacular case that drew international attention and tabloid headlines. Netflix and HBO are both working on shows based on Sorokin’s audacious efforts to finagle her way into the Manhattan socialite scene.

She was convicted last month on multiple counts of larceny and theft and has been in custody since her October 2017 arrest— time behind bars that will be credited toward her sentence. The judge also ordered Sorokin to pay nearly $200,000 in restitution and a $24,000 fine.

U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement said it will seek to deport Sorokin to Germany following her release from state prison.

Moments before she was sentenced, Sorokin briefly addressed the court, saying, “I apologize for the mistakes I made.”

Her defense attorney, Todd Spodek, told a gaggle of reporters that Sorokin was “holding up OK.” He described the prison sentence as “expected” but said Sorokin will pursue an appeal.

“She’s a tough woman,” Spodek said, noting she has been at Rikers Island for more than 500 days.

Sorokin forged a new identity — Anna Delvey — and defrauded financial institutions and Manhattan celebrities into believing she had a fortune of $67 million (60 million euros) overseas that could cover her jet-setting lifestyle , high-end clothing and lavish hotel stays. She falsely claimed her father was a diplomat or an oil baron and falsified bank records. In fact, her father told New York magazine he’s a former trucker who runs a heating-and-cooling business.

Her ruse included an application for a $22 million loan to fund a private arts club, complete with exhibitions, installations and pop-up shops, prosecutors said. She was denied that loan but persuaded one bank to lend her $100,000 that she failed to repay.

In all, prosecutors accused her of stealing some $275,000, including a $35,400 bill she failed to pay for a plane she chartered to and from the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. She went to great lengths to ensure others paid her way, even as she had “not a cent to her name, as far as we can determine,” prosecutor Catherine McCaw said following Sorokin’s arrest.

“An ordinary person would just take coach,” McCaw told Kiesel at Thursday’s hearing. “The defendant did not want an ordinary life, and she was willing to steal in order to get that.”

The jury convicted Sorokin of four counts of theft of services, three counts of grand larceny and one count of attempted grand larceny.

Jurors acquitted her of two counts, including an allegation that she promised a friend an all-expenses paid trip to Morocco and then stuck her with the $62,000 bill. She was also found not guilty of one of the most serious charges in the indictment: attempting to steal more than $1 million from City National Bank.

Spodek argued that Sorokin had been “buying time” and always intended to settle her debts. He portrayed her as an ambitious entrepreneur and said she lacked criminal intent.

McCaw rejected that characterization, saying Sorokin showed “almost no remorse” throughout the proceedings. The prosecutor said Sorokin seemed to revel at the plight of her victims and showed more concern for her attire than the emotions of those she hurt.

 

 

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Crime

Billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein found dead in jail cell

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The FBI and the Inspector General are investigating after billionaire paedophile Jeffrey Epstein was found dead in his jail cell after apparrently taking his own life.

The New York Post reports that a gurney carrying Epstein was wheeled out of the Manhattan Correctional Centre around 7:30am (9:30 AEST) and headed to New York Downtown Hospital.

Paramedics tried to revive Epstein as they wheeled him into the hospital but were unsuccessful.

The medical examiner’s office in Manhattan confirmed Epstein’s death.

 

A call for a reported cardiac arrest came in at 6:38am, Fire Department sources said.

Two weeks ago, Epstein, 66, was placed on suicide watch after he was found nearly unconscious in his cell with injuries to his neck.

However, The New York Times reports that he was taken off suicide watch at the time of his death.

The billionaire financier was being held without bail pending his trial on child sex-trafficking charges.

 

Some reports suggest cameras inside the Manhattan Correctional Centre malfunctioned around the time of his suicide.

The MCC has some of the tightest security in the US and has housed notorious criminals including Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, mob boss John Gotti, the World Trade Center bombers and Ponzi scheme mastermind Bernie Madoff.

 

~ More at The Daily Telegraph

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Celebrity

‘Ideal role model’: Meghan Markle and Prince Harry pay tribute to late Princess Diana on social media

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Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have made a rare and very personal statement about the late Princess Diana.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have honoured the late Princess Diana.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex today shared an inspirational quote from Harry’s late mother on their joint Instagram account.

“Carry out a random act of kindness, with no expectation of reward, safe in the knowledge that one day someone might do the same for you,” read the quote, which was featured on a blue background with the royal couple’s monogram.

In the caption, Meghan, 38, and Harry, 34, added: “Words have the power to inspire, which is why we’re happy to share some of our favourite quotes”.

The late Princess Diana is being remembered by her son, Prince Harry, and daughter-in-law, Meghan Markle. Picture: AFPSource:AFP

 

Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

 

“From members of the public to public figures, from teachers and students to young leaders, we begin with a quote from Diana, Princess of Wales.”

Although the post marks the first time Meghan and Harry have mentioned Diana by name on social media, the pair did include a special nod to her in a picture they shared of baby Archie on Mother’s Day, according to People magazine.

 

Diana’s favourite flower, forget-me-nots, were pictured in the background of the photograph.

In 2017, Harry called his late mother his “ideal role model”.

“I think she had a lot in common with everybody but also she certainly listened in a very, very short space of time,” Harry said at the time.

“In society, we suffer from this illusion or this reality where some problems get so big that nobody wants to get involved. She was the one that changed that,” he continued. “I will always look up to her as being my ideal role model.”

 

~News.com.eu

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