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German woman who faked being an heiress to defraud hotels, banks gets 4-12 years in prison – National

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German woman who faked being an heiress to defraud hotels banks gets 4 12 years in prison National

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Anna Sorokin, the German con artist who passed herself off as a wealthy heiress to swindle banks, hotels and even close friends as she lived out a high-society, Instagram-ready fantasy in New York, was sentenced Thursday to four to 12 years in prison.

The 28-year-old, who had played with her own tabloid image during the trial by wearing stylish dresses to court, looked despondent as the verdict was announced. She pressed her hand to her face and squeezed her eyes shut, appearing to hold back tears.


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Judge Diane Kiesel said Sorokin had been “blinded by the glitter and glamour of New York City” as she turned to fraud to finance a life she could never afford. But the judge turned down a request by Sorokin’s lawyers to sentence her to the time she has already spent in jail awaiting trial.

“I am stunned by the depth of the defendant’s deception,” Kiesel said, adding that she hoped to send a message to Sorokin’s internet following “that her behaviour is unacceptable.”

“Certainly she didn’t think about the people she scammed,” the judge added.

The sentencing capped a spectacular case that drew international attention and tabloid headlines. Netflix and HBO are both working on shows based on Sorokin’s audacious efforts to finagle her way into the Manhattan socialite scene.

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She was convicted last month on multiple counts of larceny and theft and has been in custody since her October 2017 arrest- time behind bars that will be credited toward her sentence. The judge also ordered Sorokin to pay nearly $200,000 in restitution and a $24,000 fine.

U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement said it will seek to deport Sorokin to Germany following her release from state prison.

Moments before she was sentenced, Sorokin briefly addressed the court, saying, “I apologize for the mistakes I made.”

Her defence attorney, Todd Spodek, told a gaggle of reporters that Sorokin was “holding up OK.” He described the prison sentence as “expected” but said Sorokin will pursue an appeal.


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“She’s a tough woman,” Spodek said, noting she has been at Rikers Island for more than 500 days.

Sorokin forged a new identity – Anna Delvey – and defrauded financial institutions and Manhattan celebrities into believing she had a fortune of $67 million (60 million euros) overseas that could cover her jet-setting lifestyle , high-end clothing and lavish hotel stays. She falsely claimed her father was a diplomat or an oil baron and falsified bank records. In fact, her father told New York magazine he’s a former trucker who runs a heating-and-cooling business.

Her ruse included an application for a $22 million loan to fund a private arts club, complete with exhibitions, installations and pop-up shops, prosecutors said. She was denied that loan but persuaded one bank to lend her $100,000 that she failed to repay.

In all, prosecutors accused her of stealing some $275,000, including a $35,400 bill she failed to pay for a plane she chartered to and from the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha, Nebraska. She went to great lengths to ensure others paid her way, even as she had “not a cent to her name, as far as we can determine,” prosecutor Catherine McCaw said following Sorokin’s arrest.

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“An ordinary person would just take coach,” McCaw told Kiesel at Thursday’s hearing. “The defendant did not want an ordinary life, and she was willing to steal in order to get that.”

The jury convicted Sorokin of four counts of theft of services, three counts of grand larceny and one count of attempted grand larceny.

Jurors acquitted her of two counts, including an allegation that she promised a friend an all-expenses paid trip to Morocco and then stuck her with the $62,000 bill. She was also found not guilty of one of the most serious charges in the indictment: attempting to steal more than $1 million from City National Bank.

Spodek argued that Sorokin had been “buying time” and always intended to settle her debts. He portrayed her as an ambitious entrepreneur and said she lacked criminal intent.

McCaw rejected that characterization, saying Sorokin showed “almost no remorse” throughout the proceedings. The prosecutor said Sorokin seemed to revel at the plight of her victims and showed more concern for her attire than the emotions of those she hurt.



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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

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Catholic Bishops react to military coup in Mali

Contrary to the expectations of the people, the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Mali (CEM) has termed the Tuesday, August 18 military coup in the West African nation as “regrettable” and “a big failure for our democracy” and called for a change of mentality if the country has to put an end to coups.

In an interview with ACI Africa Wednesday, August 19, made available to RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA, the President of CEM, Bishop Jonas Dembélé said that the governance challenges the country is facing can be managed through dialogue.

“The military coup that led to the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta is regrettable because we are in a state of law and democracy. This is the second time that Mali has had a military coup as a result of the way in which the country is governed. It is a big failure for our democracy even if there were reasons for it,” Bishop Dembélé told ACI Africa.

“It is true that our country has serious challenges including bad governance, the poor management of the economy, corruption, insecurity and so on,” Bishop Dembélé said and probed, “Why is it that we Malians have not managed to engage in dialogue to be able to discuss these problems and face up to these challenges responsibly?”

“Our leaders, our people lack transparency, they hate those who speak the truth and advocate for good governance. This mentality must change for our country to move on,” the Prelate told ACI Africa August 19.

Bishop Dembélé who is a frontline member of RECOWA-CERAO urged the military officials “to ensure a return to democracy as promised but most especially ensuring the new leadership of the country put the people first and tackle the security challenges facing the nation.”

Asked about the role of the Church in the current crisis, the 57-year-old Prelate noted, “For us the Catholic Church in Mali, our role is to preach peace; our role is to preach dialogue. We shall continue in this path of dialogue for peace just like Cardinal Jean Zerbo and some religious leaders initiated.”

“In a state of law, power is not in the hands of certain individuals but to the people. The anger of our people led to this crisis, but we must work for peace and reconciliation in Mali,” Bishop Dembélé said.

He continued in recollections, “The Bishops in Mali have always issued messages before every election in our country sounding the alert and inviting the government to organize transparent elections, ensure good governance and better management of resources.”
“But it seems our messages are never taken into consideration that is why we find ourselves in this situation today,” the Local Ordinary of Kayes Diocese told ACI Africa and added, “If the opinion of the Episcopal Conference of Mali is needed to mediate in bringing back stability and peace in the country, then we are ready.”

As a way forward, the Bishop urged the people of God in Mali to “seek the path to conversion” and to accept dialogue in the spirit of truth and honesty.
“We all want change in our

country, but this change can only be possible if individually we seek the path to conversion. It is for Malians be they Muslims or Christians or members of traditional religion, to do an examination of conscience and accept personal and community conversion in order to engage in sincere dialogue,” he said.

The Malian Prelate added, “Now there is this coup d’état to demand change we really wonder where change should come from. As long as we don’t change our behavior, our mentality, we will always have a repeat of the current situation.”

On Tuesday, August 18, President Keita announced his resignation and dissolved parliament hours after mutinying soldiers detained him at gunpoint, Aljazeera reported.
“For seven years, I have with great joy and happiness tried to put this country on its feet. If today some people from the armed forces have decided to end it by their intervention, do I have a choice? I should submit to it because I do not want any blood to be shed,” President Keita said August 18 during the televised address to the nation.

Rev. Fr. George Nwachukwu
RECOWACERAO NEWS AGENCY, RECONA

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Harris accepts VP nomination

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Harris accepts VP nomination

Senator Kamala Harris formally accepted the Democratic nomination for vice president on Wednesday following a scathing speech by former President Barack Obama, who said the fate of the nation” depends entirely on the outcome of this election.”

Both Mr. Obama and Harris stressed the importance of voting, with Harris saying “we’re all in this fight together.” Harris sounded an optimistic note by highlighting her personal history and the promise of America, saying she was “so inspired by a new generation.”

“Make no mistake, the road ahead will not be not easy,” she said. “We will stumble. We may fall short. But I pledge to you that we will act boldly and deal with our challenges honestly. We will speak truths. And we will act with the same faith in you that we ask you to place in us.” She called Mr. Trump a “predator” in a speech that came after Mr. Obama issued his most forceful rebuke of his successor to date, saying Mr. Trump “hasn’t grown into the job because he can’t.”

“This president and those in power — those who benefit from keeping things the way they are — they are counting on your cynicism,” Mr. Obama said. “They know they can’t win you over with their policies. So they’re hoping to make it as hard as possible for you to vote, and to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter.

That’s how they win. That’s how they get to keep making decisions that affect your life, and the lives of the people you love. That’s how the economy will keep getting skewed to the wealthy and well-connected, how our health systems will let more people fall through the cracks. That’s how a democracy withers, until it’s no democracy at all.”

Mr. Obama and Hillary Clinton, speaking earlier in the night, both said they had hoped Mr. Trump would rise to the occasion. But they both stressed what they called his failures while in office, with Mr. Obama saying Mr. Trump has shown “no interest in treating the presidency as anything but one more reality show that he can use to get the attention he craves.”

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

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Mali coup leaders vow to hold elections as history repeats itself

The Malian soldiers who forced President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to resign in a coup promised early Wednesday to organize new elections after their takeover was swiftly condemned by the international community.

In a statement carried overnight on state broadcaster ORTM, the mutinous soldiers who staged Tuesday’s military coup identified themselves as the National Committee for the Salvation of the People led by Colonel Major Ismael Wagué.

“With you, standing as one, we can restore this country to its former greatness,” Wagué said, announcing that borders were closed and that a curfew was going into effect from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m

The news of Keita’s departure was met with jubilation by anti-government demonstrators in the capital, Bamako, and alarm by former colonial ruler France and other allies and foreign nations.

The U.N. Security Council scheduled a closed meeting Wednesday August 19, 2020 afternoon to discuss the unfolding situation in Mali, where the U.N. has a 15,600-strong peacekeeping mission. Keita, who was democratically elected in a 2013 landslide and re-elected five years later, still had three years left in his term.

But his popularity had plummeted, and demonstrators began taking to the streets calling for his ouster in June.

West African regional bloc ECOWAS had sent mediators to try and negotiate a unity government but those talks fell apart when it became clear that the protesters would not accept less than Keita’s resignation.

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