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True Crime Book Club - Past Titles: Dec. 2023

Trigger Warning: Take a look through our previous titles from our True Crime Book Club.

"My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress" by Rachel DeLoache Williams

  1. Trust and Deception:

    • How did Anna manage to gain Rachel's trust? What red flags, if any, did Rachel overlook?
    • In what ways did Anna deceive those around her? How did she manipulate people to believe her fabricated identity?
  2. Friendship Dynamics:

    • Explore the dynamics of Rachel and Anna's friendship. What drew them together initially, and how did their relationship evolve over time?
    • Were there moments when Rachel questioned the authenticity of her friendship with Anna? Why or why not?
  3. Social Class and Privilege:

    • How does the book highlight issues of social class and privilege? In what ways did Anna exploit these dynamics to her advantage?
    • Discuss the impact of wealth and status on the characters' interactions and perceptions.
  4. Legal and Ethical Questions:

    • Analyze the ethical dilemmas Rachel faced throughout the narrative. How did she navigate the legal and moral challenges posed by Anna's actions?
    • Do you think Rachel could have done anything differently to prevent the events that unfolded?
  5. Narrative Perspective:

    • Reflect on Rachel's role as the narrator. How does her perspective shape the reader's understanding of the events, and do you find her account reliable?
    • Consider how the author's personal experience influences the storytelling. How might the narrative have differed if told from another character's point of view?
  6. Cultural and Societal Reflections:

    • Explore the cultural and societal elements depicted in the book. How does Anna's story reflect broader issues within society?
    • Discuss any cultural or societal commentary that stood out to you in the book.
  7. Personal Growth and Resilience:

    • How did Rachel grow as a person throughout the ordeal? What strengths or weaknesses in her character became evident as the events unfolded?
    • In what ways did the experience with Anna impact Rachel's future relationships and trust in others?
  8. Media and Pop Culture Influence:

    • Consider the role of media and pop culture in the events surrounding Anna's deception. How did the media contribute to the narrative, and what does this reveal about society's fascination with such stories?
  9. Lessons Learned:

    • What lessons can be drawn from Rachel's experience with Anna? How might readers apply these lessons to their own lives in terms of trust, friendship, and financial caution?
  10. Alternate Perspectives:

    • If you could hear Anna's perspective on the events, what do you think she would say? How might her version of the story differ from Rachel's?

Anna Delvey, born Anna Sorokin, posing as a German heiress, was convicted on multiple accounts in 2019 after defrauding banks, hotels, and a slew of her own friends. After Netflix released Inventing Anna, a new miniseries starring Julia Garner that recounts the fraudulent socialite's many crimes that precipitated her arrest and eventual imprisonment, many were captivated by the true story of how Delvey schemed her way to the top (L'Officiel).

2013-2014: Anna Delvey arrives in New York City and begins to infiltrate the city's social scene. She claims to be a wealthy German heiress with a trust fund of 60 million euros.

2015-2016: Delvey continues to establish herself in New York's high society, staying at upscale hotels and frequenting exclusive clubs and restaurants. During this time, she convinces individuals to lend her money and cover her expenses.

2017: Delvey attempts to secure a loan of $22 million from City National Bank to fund a private arts club. The bank becomes suspicious and denies the loan.

2017: Delvey checks into the Beekman Hotel in Manhattan but is later arrested on charges of grand larceny for allegedly stealing more than $200,000 from banks, hotels, and friends.

2018: The case gains media attention, and articles about Delvey's elaborate scheme are published. Her story becomes widely known as the "Soho Grifter" or "Anna Delvey Scam."

2019: Anna Delvey's trial begins in New York Supreme Court. She faces multiple charges, including grand larceny and theft of services. During the trial, it is revealed that she had scammed friends, banks, and businesses to fund her extravagant lifestyle.

May 2019: Delvey is found guilty on multiple counts of theft and grand larceny. She is sentenced to 4 to 12 years in prison and ordered to pay restitution.

2020: While in prison, Delvey continues to attract media attention. Her story is adapted into a Netflix series called "Inventing Anna," created by Shonda Rhimes and starring Julia Garner as Anna Delvey.

Feb. 2021: Released from prison after serving almost four years.

March 2021: Detained by ICE for overstaying her visa.

March 2022: Delvey was supposed to be sent back to Germany, but refused to leave the ICE detention center.

June 2022: She remained in ICE custody in Orange County Jail, waiting on a Board of Immigration Appeals to make a decision on her case, and hoped to stay in New York.

Oct. 2022: Delvey was released from the Orange County ICE facility—on the conditions that she had to post $10,000 bail, remain in 24-hour home confinement, and not use any form of social media.

Jan. 2023: Anna threw a "Club House Arrest" party, asking attendees to sign NDAs and donate to Access Justice Brooklyn, an organization dedicated to providing pro bono legal service.

July 2023: Anna is still under house arrest in her East Village apartment. 

My Friend Anna by Rachel DeLoache Williams review — the fake heiress who  scammed Manhattan's high society

Rachel DeLoache Williams is an American writer and former photo editor. She gained public attention for her involvement in the case of Anna Sorokin, a Russian-born con artist who posed as a wealthy German heiress and scammed her acquaintances in New York City. Rachel DeLoache Williams wrote a memoir about her experience with Anna Sorokin titled "My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress," which was published in 2019. In the book, Williams details her friendship with Anna Sorokin, the deception she experienced, and the legal and emotional aftermath of the events. The memoir provides insights into the dynamics of their relationship and sheds light on how Anna Sorokin managed to deceive those around her.

Rachel DeLoache Williams is a multidisciplinary creative. Born and raised in Knoxville, Tennessee, after graduating from Kenyon College, she moved to New York City and quickly landed her dream job in the photo department at Vanity Fair, where she worked for nearly a decade. After leaving the magazine, she published her first book, My Friend Anna (Gallery Books, July 2019), which became a New York Times bestseller and one of TIME Magazine’s “100 Must-Read Books of the Year.” Today, she works as a freelance creative producer, specializing in art direction & set design (Rachel DeLoache Williams).

Rachel DeLoache Williams has been featured in media interviews and articles discussing her book and the events surrounding her friendship with Anna Sorokin. Her memoir offers a personal perspective on the consequences of trust and deception in relationships, as well as the impact of financial scams.

"How has telling your story and writing this book changed things for you?‍ Telling my story and writing the book provided closure. Today I feel healthy and (for the most part) happy, like myself again. Before all of this, I was an extremely private person, even amongst my friends and family, but having this experience sort of cracked me open—it put me in a position where I needed to share and today I’m closer to my loved ones because of it" (Girls Night In).

Rachel DeLoache Williams, a photo editor who befriended New York socialite and swindler Anna Sorokin, is suing Netflix over its portrayal of her in its wildly popular “Inventing Anna” show, released earlier this year.

Williams, who was played by actress Katie Lowes in the series, filed the suit against the streaming giant in the Delaware district court on Monday, alleging defamation and false-light invasion of privacy.

According to court documents, she accuses Netflix of making a “deliberate decision for dramatic purposes” to show her doing or saying things that she says portray her “as a greedy, snobbish, disloyal, dishonest, cowardly, manipulative and opportunistic person.”

The suit also contends that she is depicted in the show as accepting expensive gifts, clothes and jewelry and “sponging off” Anna Sorokin, who also went by the name Anna Delvey and convinced strangers that she was a foreign heiress (Washington Post).


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