How New York’s scam artist of the moment tried to score a High Line pad

Wannabe socialite “Anna Delvey” tried twice to rent at HL23, but could never pay up

TRD New York /
May.May 31, 2018 05:40 PM

Anna Sorokin and HL23 at 515 West 23rd Street (Credit: Getty Images)

As she plotted an elaborate grift that touched the lives of Manhattan’s jet set, “It girl” con-artist Anna Sorokin tried to scam her way into a $150,000-a-year apartment at a tony High Line condominium.

But the wire transfer Sorokin said would cover a year’s worth of rent never came through. And after allegedly swindling friends and businesses out of $270,000, she’s now a resident of Rikers Island. Her exploits – which include posing as someone who was working on a redevelopment of Aby Rosen’s 281 Park Avenue South – were chronicled this week in New York magazine.

Sorokin, who went by the alias Anna Delvey, tried twice in 2015 to rent a two-bedroom, full-floor apartment at the Neil Denari-designed HL 23 building overlooking the trendy elevated park, brokers who worked with her told The Real Deal.

“She originally came by herself and filled out an application, but then never came through,” said Berkshire Hathaway Home Services’ Susan Rubell, who had listed the condo as a rental for its investor-owner.

Rubell said Sorokin couldn’t provide documentation for her bank accounts and assets, which isn’t necessarily unusual in the world of luxury rentals. So she told the young woman she’d have to pay the entire year’s worth of rent – $12,500 a month – up front.

“I do get that sometimes,” Rubell said. “I told her she would have to prepay the rent, as I normally would with anybody else.”

But Rubell said she started to get uneasy about Sorokin, especially having doubts about her ability to get her lease approved by the building’s condo board.

Looking to avoid a messy confrontation, she concocted a story about the apartment having been rented, and Sorokin went about finding a new place.

Sorokin then reached out to Town Residential broker Francois Bertin about renting a loft in Chelsea, claiming a budget of about $15,000 a month. Bertin, who is now with the Corcoran Group, said he showed her a few apartments, but Sorokin kept asking about the pad at HL23.

So he called Rubell and told her about his client.

“She [Rubell] said, ‘Oh god, no, no, no!’” Bertin recalled

Rubell, however, reconsidered, and gave it another go. Sorokin was asked to fill in the paperwork, but Bertin saw that it was clearly phony, and Sorokin’s transfer never came through.

“She kept following up with me for like three weeks,” Bertin recalled. “’Did you get the wire transfer? Is it still available?’”

Todd Spodek, Sorokin’s criminal-defense attorney, said: “Anna’s actions did not always lineup with her finances, however her intention was to eventually pay all of her debts.”

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