Thursday, 9 May 2019

Anna Sorokin: fake German heiress sentenced to up to 12 years in prison



Anna Sorokin: fake German heiress sentenced to up to 12 years in prison
Sorokin, 28, guilty of deception worth more than $200,000
Judge: ‘She was blinded by the glitter and glamour of New York’
Edward Helmore in New York and agencies

Thu 9 May 2019 21.12 BST First published on Thu 9 May 2019 20.20 BST

A judge has sentenced the fake German heiress Anna Sorokin to four to 12 years in prison for defrauding hotels, restaurants, a private jet operator and banks out of more than $200,000.

Judge Diane Kiesel said she was “stunned by the depth of the defendant’s deception, her labyrinthine lies that kept her con afloat” at the sentencing on Thursday afternoon in Manhattan state court. As she handed down sentence, Kiesel reportedly made a reference to Bruce Springsteen’s song Blinded by the Light.

“She was blinded by the glitter and glamour of New York City,” the judge said, according to BuzzFeed News.

Sorokin, a would-be art collector, planned to open a members-only arts club but became known as the “Soho grifter” after her deception upon New York’s glitzy social scene came to light. Sorokin, 28, was found guilty last month of grand larceny and theft of services.

During the trial she was admonished for throwing tantrums when she couldn’t get her stylist-curated outfits, and drew unflattering sketches of the lead prosecutor during testimony.

But at sentencing she was humbled. Wearing a long-sleeved black dress, she told the judge: “I apologize for the mistakes I made.”

Sorokin’s story became a media sensation, and she received lengthy profiles in magazines and reams of tabloid coverage. A TV series about her life was also planned.

Today in Focus
Anna Sorokin: the fake heiress who fooled everyone – podcast

At the trial, prosecutors said she overdrew a bank account and forged financial records to further the ruse that she perpetrated under the name Anna Delvey. The jury agreed she had fraudulently maneuvered herself into “the best position to take money” from a social milieu of wealthy collectors, dealers and auctioneers.

Prosecutors said Sorokin’s ambition was to “live the fantasy of an extravagant lifestyle beyond her means”. But her lawyers argued that Sorokin was hardly unique in understanding that superficial glamour was key to acceptance in the circles she aspired to join.

 “Fake it until you make it,” explained her lawyer, Todd Spodek. He conceded that his client’s practice was unethical but, he claimed, not illegal because she planned to pay everyone back. “Any millennial will tell you,” he said, “it is not uncommon to have delusions of grandeur.”

The jury rejected some of the charges against her, including an alleged attempt to fraudulently obtain a $22m (£17m) loan, and an accusation that she had swindled $60,000 from a friend who had paid for a lavish trip to Morocco.

Prosecutors told the court Sorokin now has barely “a cent to her name”.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) has said it will seek to deport Sorokin, who was born in Russia, to Germany following her release from state custody. Ice said Sorokin overstayed her 2017 visa.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Remembering, "Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain and Great White Silence" / VIDEO:Posh and Posher. CLASS POLITICS IN THE UK. Documentary. Prejudice. Disc...





TV review: Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain and Great White Silence
Why the toffs are back in charge is a big question; it's a shame Andrew Neil didn't have the answers

John Crace
@JohnJCrace
Thu 27 Jan 2011 07.59 GMT First published on Thu 27 Jan 2011 07.59 GMT

Posh and Posher Andrew Neil tv review john crace
 What happened to social mobility?

We're continually being told "we're all in this together" but politicians are notoriously edgy when their own social mobility comes under scrutiny. So with three-quarters of the coalition cabinet now millionaires and most of the top jobs in all parties sewn up by public school or Oxbridge graduates, Andrew Neil's Posh and Posher: Why Public School Boys Rule Britain (BBC2) was a timely examination of why, after a succession of state school-educated prime ministers from Harold Wilson to John Major, we have returned to a 1950s political elite.

In many ways the question was more interesting than the answers, which followed the predictable line of a cultivated sense of entitlement, social networking and a financial cushion that enables the ambitious to work for next to nothing as special parliamentary advisers in the hope of getting parachuted into a safe seat at a later date.

It didn't help that Neil kept moving his own goalposts so it was hard to follow the argument. He started by talking about public schools in general, then rapidly narrowed it to just two – Westminster and Eton – without worrying why those from other public schools miss out. He then shifted to Oxbridge and while there is an overlap and a similarly pernicious sense of closed shop, it's not the same thing.

He was on much stronger ground when he got on to education in general. Like many high achievers of his generation, Neil was a grammar school boy and he made a straight correlation between the arrival of comprehensive secondary education and the rebirth of the English political elite. Despite this he couldn't bring himself to call for the reinstatement of a two-tier system, as the price of consigning 80% of teenagers to the limited expectations of a secondary modern was not one worth paying. So we were rather back where we started.

Most telling were the absences. The message must have gone out that the topic was toxic and no one important should talk to Neil under any circumstances. So he was left talking to past-their-sell-by-date Tory grandees, the sidelined David Davis, and Peter Mandelson, who will talk to any camera that's pointed at him. The highlight was the Tory backbencher and wealthy Somerset landowner Jacob Rees-Mogg. Here was a clown who could win the next election for Labour singlehandedly with his plummy declaration: "I am a man of the people. Vox populi, vox dei." Alan Johnson's cameo appearance as the lone trade unionist took on a ghost-like poignancy after his resignation last week sounded another death knell for social equality.

At least some ghosts came back to life. Last year Herbert Ponting's film of Scott's last trip to the Antarctic got an HD tart-up and in Great White Silence (Discovery) we were treated to magical images of both ice and men. It was like going through a wormhole to be back among an expedition whose collective memory has long since been as frozen as their bodies. All that spoiled it was James Cracknell. The former rower may have been to the Antarctic, but he is no polar historian and his ability to misinterpret almost everything he saw during his film commentary was breathtaking.

As the ponies and the motor sleds were unloaded from the Terra Nova, Cracknell hailed Scott's modern approach to polar transport. He didn't mention that the ponies were spectacularly useless as they sank into the snow, nor that the sleds continually broke down in the cold and were abandoned. He accepted Scott's decision to abandon the dogs on the Beardmore Glacier, saying they couldn't pull uphill, and he made a virtue of manhauling, while failing to acknowledge that Amundsen's dogs pulled the Norwegians all the way up on to the Antarctic ice-cap far more quickly.

He praised Scott's decision to leave the final make-up of the polar party to the last minute, when most recognise that his spur-of-the-moment decision to take an extra man to the pole when he only had provisions for four was a fatal error. He hailed Scott's devotion to science in collecting geological samples, when Scott's own diaries reveal this was mainly a piece of face-saving after coming second, and the extra weight may have contributed to his team's death.

It was a wonderful piece of rehabilitation for Scott, but as history it was desperately flawed. You'd have been better off watching the film as Ponting originally intended. With no sound.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

'Intimate Audrey' exhibition opens in Brussels / VIDEO:The intimate life of Audrey Hepburn goes on display in Brussels





'Intimate Audrey': Hepburn exhibition opens in Brussels

Sean Hepburn Ferrer, poses in front of a picture of his mother Audrey Hepburn and an Oscar statuette awarded posthumously for her humanitarian work at the exhibition "Intimate Audrey" in Brussels, Belgium, May 2, 2019. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - From personal pictures and dresses to film props and awards, an exhibition offering an intimate look at the life of late actress Audrey Hepburn has opened in Brussels, marking the 90th anniversary of the Hollywood star’s birth in the Belgian city.

Put together by her son Sean Hepburn Ferrer, “Intimate Audrey” features hundreds of private and professional photos - originals and reprints - as well as some movie memorabilia, such as the scooter used in the 1953 classic “Roman Holiday” for which Hepburn won a best actress Oscar.

Hepburn Ferrer, whose father was U.S. actor Mel Ferrer, said he wanted to offer a more personal perspective of the life of the British actress, who dedicated her later years to charity work and became a UNICEF goodwill ambassador.

“She lived a humble life, a simple life, and maybe in there lies the key to why she is still so beloved today,” he told Reuters.

Hepburn was born in 1929 in the Brussels area of Ixelles to a Dutch mother and British father. She later moved to London to pursue ballet training and eventually turned to acting, taking to the stage in New York in 1951 for Broadway play “Gigi”.

She starred in a string of films in the 1950s and 1960s, including “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”, “Charade” and “My Fair Lady”. Hepburn died in 1993 aged 63.

On display are also Hepburn’s fashion drawings and humanitarian writings. Hepburn Ferrer said one the key features of the exhibition was a replica cherry blossom tree, a tribute to the childhood home in Switzerland his parents bought in 1963 and remained Hepburn’s residence until her death.

“It is an unusual exhibition because it has been completely devoid of the Hollywood aspect of her career so it’s the woman who is coming home, naked of the legend, of the icon,” he said.

“Intimate Audrey” runs Espace Vanderborght until Aug. 25.

Reporting By Clement Rossignol; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian, Editing by William Maclean

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.









AUDREY HEPBURN BACK IN BRUSSELS
01 May 2019 - 04 August 2019

Brussels
In an interview on Belgian television in 1959, Audrey Hepburn said: "I was born here in Brussels, and I am very happy about that". It is precisely because the actress (1929-1993) was born in the Brussels municipality of Ixelles, exactly ninety years ago, that her son, Sean Ferrer, has decided to devote a biographical exhibition to the memory of his mother in the Vanderborght building, in the centre of the capital.

The exhibition "Intimate Audrey" (1 May to 4 August) is primarily based on photos of the Hollywood star, some of which will be on public display for the first time. Personal items including clothing and accessories, as well as videos portraying significant events in her life, will also feature in the exhibition. The emphasis is more on the woman as a person rather than the actress, her marriage to the actor Melchor Gaston Ferrer and her humanitarian work.


The proceeds from admissions will be donated to EURORDIS-Rare Diseases Europe and to the Brugmann and Bordet hospitals in Brussels. For practical information, visit: https://agenda.brussels//en/event/471314/exposition-intimate-audrey.html.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Jeeves and his wife in Delft / VIDEO: St. Matthew Passion - I, Bach, Bachkoor Holland, Concertgebouw Chamber O...


Me and my wife. My wife and I.  We went to the sublime St Matthew Passion in the Nieuwe Kerk, Delft,  for the traditional Dutch Easter Good Friday celebration
Greetings JEEVES







The St Matthew Passion (German: Matthäus-Passion), BWV 244, is a Passion, a sacred oratorio written by Johann Sebastian Bach in 1727 for solo voices, double choir and double orchestra, with libretto by Picander. It sets chapters 26 and 27 of the Gospel of Matthew (in the Luther Bible) to music, with interspersed chorales and arias. It is widely regarded as one of the masterpieces of classical sacred music. The original Latin title Passio Domini nostri J.C. secundum Evangelistam Matthæum translates to "The Passion of our Lord J[esus] C[hrist] according to the Evangelist Matthew".


Thursday, 2 May 2019

Anna Sorokin found guilty / VIDEO:How NYC’s Richest Socialites Were Scammed By Anna Delvey, Allegedly | Va...





Anna Sorokin: fake heiress found guilty of theft and grand larceny in Manhattan
Woman who masqueraded as Anna Delvey swindled tens of thousands of dollars from banks, hotels and friends

Associated Press

Fri 26 Apr 2019 07.26 BST First published on Fri 26 Apr 2019 01.40 BST

A New York jury on Thursday convicted an extravagant socialite who bankrolled an implausibly lavish lifestyle with tens of thousands of dollars she swindled from banks, hotels and friends who believed she was a wealthy German heiress.

The Manhattan jury found Anna Sorokin guilty of four counts of theft of services, three counts of grand larceny and one count of attempted grand larceny following a month-long trial that attracted international attention. She was acquitted of one count of grand larceny and one count of attempted grand larceny. She is to be sentenced 9 May.

Sorokin also faces deportation to Germany because authorities say she overstayed her visa.

Using the name Anna Delvey, Sorokin deceived friends and financial institutions into believing she had a fortune of about $67m (60m euros) overseas that would cover her high-end clothing, luxury hotel stays and trans-Atlantic travel.

She claimed her father was diplomat or an oil baron and went to extraordinary lengths to have others pay her way. Prosecutors said she promised one friend an all-expenses paid trip to Morocco but then stuck her with the $62,000 bill.

She also forged financial records in an application for a $22m loan to fund a private arts club she wanted to build, complete with exhibitions, installations and pop-up shops, prosecutors said. She was denied the loan but persuaded one bank to lend her $100,000 she failed to repay.

Her defense attorney, Todd Spodek, insisted Sorokin planned to settle her six-figure debts and was merely “buying time”.

Anna Sorokin proves we’re all soft touches for glamour scammers
Rebecca Nicholson
There’s a reason why the story of the sham heiress is fascinating – in our phoney world any one of us could be conned

Sat 27 Apr 2019 15.00 BST

Netflix and HBO are both working on the story of the convicted conwoman Anna Sorokin, aka ‘Anna Delvey’
On Thursday, in a New York courtroom, Anna Sorokin was convicted of a litany of charges: four counts of theft of services, three of grand larceny and one of attempted grand larceny. The story of her brief, bright career as a scammer, when she floated around the city claiming to be an heiress called Anna Delvey, on a cycle of borrowing and defaulting, has proved so gripping that it is already being turned into competing projects. A New York magazine report from 2018 was optioned for Netflix; a Vanity Fair story, written by the photojournalist who had been swindled by Sorokin (and who testified against her), is being adapted for HBO by Lena Dunham.

Sorokin’s convictions, for which she faces a prison sentence and deportation to Germany, make her the latest in a line of high-level fakers elevated to celebrity status by our fascination. It’s no wonder that Netflix and HBO are involved in turning the saga into entertainment: from the Fyre festival to Elizabeth Holmes, the disgraced CEO of Theranos (not, in a week of Avengers overload, to be confused with Thanos), tales of people promising something they could never, or never intended to, deliver are everywhere.

It is surely just a matter of time before Netflix creates a “glamour scammers” category, on a par with “understated TV dramas featuring a strong female lead” or, as I found when scrolling last week, “sparking joy”, which perhaps reveals more about my algorithms than I should be comfortable with.

I used to think that the appeal of such stories was down to the unedifying pleasure of schadenfreude and the firm belief that we, the people watching, would never be conned like that. The Fyre festival fiasco thrived on this sentiment: people saw others paying for the pursuit of impossible glamour, only to find that it was actually impossible.

Now I think the appeal might lie somewhere else. We are all in a position where being tricked on some level is not unusual and seeing these grand scams unfold only highlights how much of the world is run on persuasion and image of no substance. Even Sorokin’s legal strategy emphasised the fakery around us. “Everyone’s life was perfectly curated for social media. People were fake. People were phoney. And money was made on hype alone,” her lawyer told the jury.

It’s little comfort to those damaged by Sorokin’s actions. But they expose a vulnerability in all of us and that might be what makes such stories so desperately, hopelessly thrilling.


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