In the digital age, you can’t be too careful about your security online. Enter your credit card number into one non-secure form and you could be dealing with fraudulent charges for the foreseeable future. But while you may not completely trust the internet to keep your information safe, you’d probably hope that the people closest to you have your best interests at heart and would never rip you off. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case — and it can be an expensive lesson to learn.
That’s precisely what happened to former Vanity Fair photo editor Rachel DeLoache Williams, whose whirlwind friendship with a now-infamous fraudster culminated in a $62,000 loss and a difficult road ahead. But DeLoache Williams has managed to turn lemons into lemonade, recently debuting her tell-all book that “delves” into every little dirty detail related to Anna Delvey (real name: Sorokin).
After first meeting Delvey at a Lower East Side nightclub called Happy Ending, the irony of the venue’s name is not lost on DeLoache Williams. She thought she found a lifelong friend in the supposed German heiress and art enthusiast. But as it turned out, Anna would con her new pal — along with hotels, restaurants, banks, and private jet operators — out of tens of thousands of dollars, all in the name of supporting her lavish lifestyle and keeping up the charade that she came from an affluent family.
Despite the fact that one out of every seven businesses has an alarm system to prevent theft, DeLoache Williams’s internal alarm didn’t start to ring when she met Delvey — and she certainly paid the price. During the time the pair spent wining and dining in New York City, Delvey relayed her plans to establish an art-focused membership club and her ability to do it, thanks to her purported net worth of $67 million. DeLoache Williams had no reason not to trust Delvey’s claims, as her friend often treated her to astronomically expensive nights out, high-end spa treatments, and designer shopping trips.
But when the duo embarked on an opulent trip to Marrakesh in 2017, things started to go awry. Delvey’s credit cards wouldn’t go through and the hotel became more demanding with their requests for payment. DeLoache Williams offered to use her credit cards as a temporary stand-in as a favor to Delvey and Delvey assured that she would repay her friend. Unfortunately, that payback never happened and DeLoache Williams was suddenly faced with a staggering $62,000 charge across two separate credit cards, as well as an uncertain financial future.
Out of options and with the sinking realization that Delvey had no plans to make good on her debt, DeLoache Williams decided to go to the police. In October of that year, Delvey was arrested. She was later convicted on multiple counts of larceny and theft and was sentenced to four to 12 years in prison, joining the more than 70 million people who now have criminal records tracked by the Interstate Identification Index. Although probate appeals have a time limit of 30 or 45 days, it’s not clear whether the fake heiress has any plans to appeal her conviction. All told, Delvey bilked more than $200,000 out of her victims — and she certainly would have continued to scam others, had she not been apprehended.
But Delvey continues to make headlines, even behind bars. She recently sold her story to both Netflix and HBO, though the office of the New York State attorney general has filed a request to block payment from Netflix on the premise that prevents convicted criminals from profiting from their crimes. A judge temporarily ordered Netflix not to give Delvey any moneys owed until the matter is resolved. Even if she doesn’t get the payout, however, Delvey will likely enjoy that her on-screen story will cement her infamous status (and will be directed by Shonda Rhimes).
One person who is profiting from Delvey’s acts, however, is her former friend. DeLoache Williams rose from the ashes and penned a memoir, “My Friend Anna,” which provides insight into the relationship and the warning signs she should have spotted from the start. And while a jury ultimately did not find that Delvey had defrauded DeLoache Williams, the new author has managed to turn things around in spite of it all.
As DeLoache Williams told Harper’s Bazaar: “Before this, I probably would have told you that I was a good judge of character and I don’t know that if that’s untrue… But I didn’t see Anna coming, and I’d seen the movies, I’d read the books… Sometimes it’s easier to believe what someone wants you to think about them, be it through social media or what they themselves tell you, rather than what how they act. As Oprah said, if someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”