Anna Sorokin, the ex-con-artist who inspired the Netflix series “Inventing Anna,” discussed her oncoming legal battle against potential deportation in her first interview since her release from prison on Oct. 8.
Speaking with the New York Times, Sorokin asserted that she is regretful of her criminal actions, which involved swindling the upper echelons of Manhattan by posing as an heiress under the name “Anna Delvey.”
“I learned so much being in jail,” Sorokin said. “There’s a very well-documented arc about how I’ve felt about everything. It wouldn’t be right if I were just to switch in one day. That would be very disingenuous. It’s a process. I am regretful about the way things played out. The way I’ve tried to see my experience is to learn from it: Who I am today is because of the decisions I made in the past.”
Sorokin also explained why she elected to serve a jail sentence in the U.S., instead of fighting for her immigration status from Germany, stating that a decision to leave the country would have given the impression that she was “running from something.”
“I just did not want it to go down the way ICE wanted it to. Letting them deport me would have been like a sign of capitulation — confirmation of this perception of me as this shallow person who only cares about obscene wealth, and that’s just not the reality,” Sorokin said. “I could have left, but I chose not to because I’m trying to fix what I’ve done wrong. I have so much history in New York and I felt like if I were in Europe, I’d be running from something. But if jail does not prove people wrong, then what will?
Sorokin, who is Russian-born and has German citizenship, was arrested in March of last year for overstaying her visa in the U.S. She was released on bail from Orange County Jail on Oct. 7, at which point she was free to return to Manhattan and hunker down in her new East Village apartment under 24-hour house arrest.
“So many immigration lawyers told me I’d get deported to Mars before I’d get out in New York,” Sorokin said, explaining her excitement to be able to remain in the U.S. for the time being. “I just had to find the person who’d align with my vision, not accept ‘no’ for an answer and make it happen.”
But John Sandweg, the immigration attorney representing Sorokin, clarified her release does not necessarily mean she will be able to remain in the country.
“This doesn’t mean she gets to stay in the United States,” Sandweg said. “All this means is that she gets to continue to aggressively pursue all her cases out of jail, off the taxpayer’s dime — and she gets to do it from home.”
The 31-year-old’s criminal record is stacked against her, given a hefty 2019 conviction that found her guilty on eight counts, including grand larceny and theft of services. She served just over four years of her four-to-12 year sentence before being released and subsequently arrested by ICE six months later.
Back in a 2019 interview with the New York Times, Sorokin expressed little remorse for her actions. Now, three years later, sitting across from the same journalist who interviewed her then, Sorokin alleges her stance has changed drastically.
Sorokin also shared her thoughts on being legally barred from using social media, which is a stipulation of her release from prison. In prison, Sorokin was an active presence online. Her latest Instagram post dates back as recently as a week ago, with the location tagged as the Orange County Correctional Facility.
“Maybe that’s for the best? It’s really hard to tune out distractions,” Sorokin said of her social media ban. “Hopefully it’s not forever.”
In her newfound time at home, Sorokin plans to try her hand at podcasting and writing a novel, in addition to pursuing her artwork.
“I have a lot going on. I’m working on my own podcast with different guests for each episode. But it’s not shaped up yet,” Sorokin said. “It was pretty hard to record anything high quality from jail. And then there’s my book. I’d love to do something with criminal-justice reform to kind of highlight the struggles of other girls.”
All the while, she’s preparing to make a legal case for her to remain in the United States.
“My immigration case is just beginning,” Sorokin said.