Rachel DeLoache Williams is a freelance photographer today who often shares photos of her travels on Instagram. She was a friend of fake heiress Anna Delvey, whose real name is Anna Sorokin. Williams was conned out of her money and testified at Sorokin’s trial.
Williams was duped out of $62,000 on a trip she took with Sorokin to Morocco, she said in her testimony, according to Insider. Sorokin had said she would pay for the trip, she testified. Sorokin was convicted on eight counts, but she was found not guilty of bilking Williams out of money for the trip, according to ABC News.
The story is gaining popularity after Netflix released its 2022 miniseries, “Inventing Anna” on February 11, 2022.
ABC 20/20 also dug into the case in an episode, “The Sinfluencer of Soho,” which aired in 2021.
Here’s what you need to know:
DeLoache Williams Criticized the Attention Given to Anna Sorokin by the Miniseries
DeLoache Williams wrote an article for Air Mail blasting Netflix for feeding her former friend’s need for attention and publicity.
“Netflix isn’t just putting out a fictional story. It’s effectively running a con woman’s P.R.—and putting money in her pocket,” she wrote.
New York law prevents convicted criminals from turning a profit for their crimes until they pay restitution, which Sorokin claims she did in an essay of her own, published by Insider in advance of the miniseries’ release. Sorokin sold the rights to her story to Netflix and Shonda Rimes. Insider reported that the rights were sold for $320,000.
DeLoache also wrote an essay for Time that said a person who commits “splashy” enough crimes can still turn a profit even after paying restitution.
“If your crimes are splashy enough, a media company could snatch up the rights to your story pre-trial so that you’re able to afford the attorney of your choice, one skilled enough to minimize your penalty. You could be paid so much money that even after your funds are frozen and victims are repaid, you have cash left over. And, not only that, but if fame is what you’re after, you’ll have built yourself a ‘brand,’ created a platform, and found an audience to leverage for future opportunities,” DeLoache Williams wrote.
Neff Davis’ Feelings for Rachel DeLoache Williams Are More Nuanced Than They’re Portrayed on the Show
Neff Davis is also a real person. You can read more about her here. Davis spoke to Vanity Fair about a mutual friend who was also portrayed on the show, Rachel DeLoache Williams. “Inventing Anna” shows Davis throwing shade at Rachel DeLoache Williams. Read more about the real Rachel here.
In real life, she never talked to DeLoache after parting ways with Anna Delvey. She told Vanity Fair she was mad at Anna for scamming Rachel.
Yeah. I was like, Rachel was a slave of Vanity Fair. Why would you do that to her? And she was like, ‘Well, I didn’t tell her to put that card down.’ But I’m like, you know if you’re in Morocco and you have every one around you speaking Arabic and they’re threatening you and you know how they don’t care about women’s rights over, you’re going to feel pressured to put a card down.
Even though I don’t feel bad for Rachel, I feel bad that Rachel was in that situation. And that’s my only thing about Rachel. I just don’t know why she put that card down, but she trusted Anna.
Davis told Vanity Fair the show “dragged” Rachel, and she wasn’t sure why.
“But you know, with my character having my same name, it’s hard to separate the fantasy from real. But yeah, I don’t know why the show was so rough on Rachel. . . .I don’t have a hate towards her. It’s just that I’m friends with Anna. If you’re friends with someone it’s hard to be friends with their enemy. It’s like a girl code,” Davis said.
Williams Reflected on Her Relationship With Sorokin & the Debt She Was Left to Repay
Williams, who was a picture researcher for Vanity Fair, told ABC News that Sorokin left her with more debt than she made in a year – $62,000. She told Harper’s Bazaar that she decided to make a report to police when Sorokin promised to pay her back for a trip to Morocco, but never paid the debt.
Williams reflected in her Harper’s Bazaar interview about why the story is so fascinating to the public.
“Anna is a fascinating character for better for worse, especially as a young woman,” Williams told Harper’s Bazaar. “She took on traditionally male dominated power structures when it came to financial scamming. People are interested in that. The story is timely because people are so interested in social media now and its positive and negative impact on society and the way in which it encourages people to want to build themselves as an internet celebrity.”
Williams told ABC News she is often asked about red flags she noticed with Sorokin, and answered the same question for Harper’s Bazaar.
“It’s much easier in hindsight,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “A lot of small things added up, like going out where she would forget her credit card or me having to book flights on the day we were leaving for Marrakesh, but they made sense within the context or her normal behaviour, so I was able to rationalise those things. If you look at them in isolation, they seem to be clear warning signs.”
Williams Wrote a Book & Earned Money for HBO Max Series ‘Generation Hustle’
Williams was able to receive money from her experiences, Insider reported. She landed a book deal for her story, which was published in 2019: My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress. At the time of her testimony against Sorokin, Insider reported Williams was being paid $300,000 for the book. At that time in 2019, she had received $63,000 of a $75,000 advance, she testified.
“I wanted to find a home for this project. Yes, money was a factor,” Williams said in her testimony, according to Insider. “I worked very hard to get where I am today.”
Williams was also paid $35,000 for adaptation rights in an HBO deal, according to Insider. The news outlet reported at the time she could receive an additional $300,000, but they were still in negotiations then. The project became a 10-part HBO Max series, “Generation Hustle,” according to ET Online.
Insider reported that Williams would also be required to pay her agents from the earnings, including 10% for the HBO deal and 15% for the book deal, in addition to other fees and taxes.