State says not so fast on fake German heiress’ Netflix deal

Entertainment
Anna Sorokin

FILE – In this April 25, 2019, file photo, Anna Sorokin, who claimed to be a German heiress, returns to the courtroom during her trial on grand larceny and theft of services charges in New York. The New York Attorney General’s Office recently invoked a state law that forbids criminals from profiting off their crimes in a court challenge to a Netflix deal Sorokin signed last year. Prosecutors say proceeds from the production should go to the Manhattan banks and hotels Sorokin defrauded out of nearly $200,000. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)

NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors have asked a New York judge to prevent the con artist Anna Sorokin from cashing in on a Netflix production expected to highlight the extravagant ruse that landed the woman who posed as a German heiress in state prison.

The New York Attorney General’s Office recently challenged the contract Sorokin signed last year for the rights to her now-infamous life story, invoking a state law that bans criminals from profiting off their own notoriety.

State prosecutors wrote in court filings that the $70,000 and royalties Sorokin is owed from her Netflix deal should be awarded as restitution to the Manhattan banks and hotels she defrauded by providing phony financial records and a forged identity.

The court filings, first reported by The New York Post, show Sorokin received an initial $30,000 from Netflix that went to her defense attorney, Todd Spodek.

Spodek didn’t immediately return messages from The Associated Press seeking comment.

Sorokin passed herself off as a wealthy heiress known as Anna Delvey, convincing banks and celebrities that she had a fortune of $67 million (60 million euros) overseas that could cover her jet-setting lifestyle.

Following a trial that drew international media attention, she was convicted of grand larceny and theft of services and sentenced in May to four to 12 years in prison. She faces deportation to Germany following her release.

Prosecutors said Sorokin “had not a cent to her name when she was taken into custody.” But a judge ordered her to pay nearly $200,000 restitution following her conviction, including a $100,000 loan she failed to repay to City National Bank.

New York’s so-called Son of Sam law derives its name from the nickname given to David Berkowitz, a serial killer who fatally shot six people and wounded seven others in New York City in the 1970s. New York was the first state to enact such a law following his capture.

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Associated Press writer Ryan Tarinelli in Albany, New York, contributed to this report.

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