(Credit: Anna Delvey / Instagram)

Inside Netflix's deal with Anna Delvey for New York fake heiress story

Netflix is taking the hit BBC Sounds podcast, The Fake Heiress, and the true story of Anna Delvey’s deception, to the streaming service.

The streaming platform has been attempting to create the programme for some time, but making a contract with a prisoner was impossible. However, now, Delvey has been released from prison; they can finally create the documentary they have been sitting on for three years. Delvey started as a magazine intern who pretended to be the heir to a fortune; through connections she made in New York, she managed to scam bankers, hoteliers and well-to-do friends out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Her backstory was utterly fake, and although she went by Anna Delvey, in reality, she was Anna Sorokin, from a typical Russian family who lived in Germany. 

Less than two weeks after the magazine article about Sorokin in 2018, prisoner number 19G0366 signed an exclusivity contract with Netflix for her story. BBC News has obtained a copy of the agreements between Netflix and Sorokin through a freedom of information request. As the paperwork was required to be lodged to state authorities after her conviction. 

The BBC state: “They show that the first fee of $30,000 (£20,000) was agreed on 8 June. It was the ‘initial’ payment, as her lawyer, Todd Spodek, emphasised. Underneath her signature, two names were typed – ‘Anna Delvey aka Anna Sorokin’ – just to be sure. Over time, payments from Netflix to Sorokin would rise to $320,000. And for the first time in almost 20 years, they triggered a controversial New York law, designed to stop convicted criminals from profiting from their crime.”

Under the deal that Sorokin signs with Netflix, she can’t take part in any other documentary about her story, including the HBO one reportedly in the works. The pandemic has slowed down Inventing Anna’s filming, and it is now set to arrive at some point towards the end of 2021.

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