Following the success of its documentary The Tinder Swindler, Netflix is back to exploring the world of scammers with Inventing Anna, a miniseries produced by Shonda Rhimes. The show will tell Anna Sorokin’s story.
The well-known “SoHo scammer” was able to gain entry to New York’s elite circles by falsely claiming to be a heiress holding an $67 million trust fund using her false persona to defraud hotels banks, restaurants and a few of her acquaintances of many thousands of dollars. (Sorokin is, on the other hand insists that she was able to execute an actual business plan that did not work and she didn’t plan to defraud anyone).
One of the most important aspects of Sorokin’s trial was the efforts of her defense lawyer, Todd Spodek, who claimed that she was not guilty of any crime and instead benefited from an unsound procedure that allowed her to be lured by the glamour and wealth.
“Anna was determined to doing things in the right manner however she was unable to open the doors without having to do something just a more grey to unlock the door,” Spodek said during the trial.
Everybody lies when it’s comfortable to them , and Anna did the same thing. Anna was not 100% truthful because nobody would ever listen to her.”
In his defense, Spodek also cited the lyrics of the famous Frank Sinatra song, “New York, New York,” and compared Sorokin’s character to the popular actor and singer. “Sinatra got off to a wonderful beginning with New York, as did Ms. Sorokin.” Spodek argued, per The New York Times.
“They each created a gold possibility.” In an interview with Insider in 2000, Spodek said he believed Sorokin’s motives were sincere. “Did she profit from those who believed she was an German Heiress? She profited from the chance that came her way.”
Despite Spodek’s unique argument, Sorokin was convicted on 8 of the 10 counts.
Her fine was $24,000 and ordered to pay less than $200,000 in restitution. She was sentenced to between four and 12 year in jail.
But Sorokin ended up spending less than two years in jail, when she was released the middle of February 2021 because of good conduct.
In less than a month she was again detained the second time around by ICE because she had stayed over her visa.
A year later, she has still not been deported back to Germany and is still in ICE custody while she appeals her appeal.
Although Spodek no longer represents Sorokin, his name was in headlines once again in January 2022 regarding the Ghislaine Maxwell case.
Spodek was appointed to defend a jury Scott David. He told The Independent that he shared his personal experience of sexual abuse during jury deliberations, a revelation that could put Maxwell’s conviction into the spotlight.
David may be facing criminal charges for perjury, however the jury resisted the prosecutor’s request to provide him with an attorney appointed by the court and instead chose to retain Spodek for his official representative.