Late Friday night, minutes after immigration dropped Anna Sorokin in her fifth-floor walk-up apartment in Manhattan’s East Village, she returned downstairs. She wore black-framed glasses, a hoodie, and a sweatshirt, and had her monitor hanging from her ankle. Below her apartment was a check cashing business.
Sorokin, 31, spent several years in the 2010s as a socialite named Anna Delby, with a trust fund of her own invention that gave members of Manhattan’s elite a membership scheme named after her. persuaded to invest in an art club in The illicit funds that pay for the very designer lifestyles that first captivated them.
In 2019, a jury in Manhattan convicted her of various financial crimes, including grand theft and stealing at least one flight from a private jet. After completing her sentence in February 2021, she was detained for 18 months by the immigration authorities for staying over her visa after being released for six weeks. (Mr. Sorokin was born in the then Soviet Union and holds German citizenship.)
In a series of interviews that began shortly after her criminal trial, her tone shifted from defiant to near-apologetic. I don’t believe Sorokin is remorseful, but he has ruled that he is no longer a danger to the community. Monitor social media and turn it off. She was released Friday afternoon from the Orange County Correctional Facility in Goshen, New York. (The Department of Homeland Security has her 30 days to appeal the judge’s decision.)
Inside the apartment building, Mr. Sorokin’s immigration papers, which had been packed in garbage bags for transport from the facility, lay on the stairs. Leaving her bag at the foot of the stairs, she made her way to her sparsely furnished one-bedroom apartment.
Shortly before midnight, she sat down for her first interview since her release, discussing her time in immigration detention, her evolution since her Delby days, and her plans now out of prison. Interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.
After being detained in ICE for 18 months, he was placed under house arrest with an ankle bracelet. how do you feel?
I’m really happy Nothing was guaranteed. They have denied bail before. It was an exercise in patience. Too many immigration lawyers said they would be deported to Mars before they got to New York. And rather than just accept an answer of “no,” I needed to find someone who matched my vision and make it happen.
Please tell me the date you were released.
I was released from Orange County at about 4:00 pm and taken to 26 Federation Square at about 6:30. This is exactly where I was arrested last March. I was sitting there in a small antechamber. I kept knocking on the window. I was like, “Can you tell me what’s going on?” And they were giving me a thumbs up, showing ‘patience’. The ICE guys took me here. They handed me over to Chris, the art dealer. We rushed to the roof. And you literally caught me fifteen to twenty minutes after I got here.
I didn’t have to be in jail. You may have fought your immigration status from Germany.
I just didn’t want it to go down the way ICE wanted it to. To have them deport me would have been something of a sign of surrender — an affirmation of this perception of me as this shallow person who only cares about obscene wealth, which is not real. I could have done it, but I chose not to because I was trying to correct what was wrong. New York has a lot of history and I felt like I was running away from something if I was in Europe. But what if prisons don’t prove people wrong?
How was your detention?
You are always at the mercy of someone. It was just impossible to get anything for myself. At least you can do that while waiting outside. I mean, it’s not me…
So why is house arrest good?
Better food I think. We can also welcome visitors after 1:30 pm on Thursdays. Let’s see what we can do from here. I think everyone will come to me.
What are you most excited to do now that you are out?
I’m looking for my way home.
Comes with an ankle bracelet.
An ankle bracelet, yeah. It seems that if there is a problem, someone will come to fix it. It’s a 24/7 service. I’m thinking about what I can do with it.
do you want it to be attractive?
I’m not the glamorous type of person, but the possibilities are endless.
when we talked early this year, said you have changed a lot from the crimes you committed in your mid-twenties. But the judge’s order doesn’t seem to convince you of your remorse.
I definitely have a different perspective now than when I first came out last February. It is impossible to experience what I have experienced without changing it. I learned a lot in prison. There’s a very well-documented arc of how I felt about the whole thing, and it’s such a waste to switch in one day. that’s very dishonest. it’s a process. I regret the way things were done. What I have tried to understand from my experience is to learn from it. I am who I am today because of the decisions I made in the past.
I received news Wednesday morning that I could move out, but there was no apartment. Fast forward to Friday night and here we are sitting in your living room. In this New York market, I have to ask: Anna, how did you find an apartment so quickly?
John [Sandweg], my lawyer found it. I obviously couldn’t do anything from prison. I have a great team around me and I owe it all to them.
You post bail and pay three months’ rent on a six-month lease for a one-bedroom apartment in the East Village. where does all the money come from?
I think we need to ask the government.
Is bail and apartment money yours?
How do you plan to support yourself in the future?
I didn’t understand my whole life in two days. But I was able to do something with my life while in prison, so I think this will make things a little easier.
your ultimate goal an artist?
There are many projects I am working on. Art is definitely one of them.
So, don’t you want to be bound only by art?
A lot is happening. I’m working on my own podcast with a different guest each episode. But it has not yet taken shape. It was quite a challenge to record quality stuff from prison. And then there’s my book. I want to do something with criminal justice reform to shed light on other girls’ struggles.
Where does your celebrity status fit into your plans for the future?
That’s literally the last thing I can think of right now. I don’t feel like I have much control over it, especially now that I’m housebound with no access to social media or electronic devices.
You’re very active on social media, and even from behind bars, members of your team are posting to your million Instagram followers. A social media ban would be a big change.
Maybe it’s for the best? It’s really hard to adjust the distractions. Hopefully it’s not forever.
Do you plan to maintain a schedule for your day in prison that coordinates with people from 8:30 am to 10:00 pm?
Do not know. I would have to do so many things. I’m so excited right now that I can’t sleep quite a bit. I mean, folks, I literally just got out of prison!
You have been and will continue to be under close scrutiny from ICE officials and the general public.
I perform better under pressure. So many people can’t wait to see me do something crazy or illegal and go back to jail.
The first time we spoke at Rikers, I asked about your parents. And I know your relationship with your mother in particular is complicated. How did they feel about the court proceedings over the past few years?
My parents are pretty cynical, especially my dad. They’re like, “Well, how many more years are you going to be in prison?” But they accepted that this is what I want. I am not taking a questionable path. I am really trying to improve and learn. I hope they understand and respect my choice. I talk to them every other day.
my mom too. She tries to call me at night, so we are often together.
this Your immigration case is not overYou can still be deported.
My immigration lawsuit is just beginning. I create a lot of work for lawyers. So everyone is happy.
How long does this immigration process take?
It’s a priority when you’re in custody, but it’s written in a different minutes after you’re released.Because of Covid, there’s a 2 million case backlog.I think it’s going to be a longer case.
So you will be in New York for a while.
I’m really, really happy. That’s exactly what I wanted. Ultimately, I want to have more freedom. And hopefully ICE will make sure New York is safe – even if one day I manage to move out of this apartment.