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A woman who was conned by Anna Delvey - subject of new Netflix series Inventing Anna - has previously spoken out about her traumatic experience.
Rachel DeLoache Williams, an author and journalist, was once a close friend of Anna's before her life was turned upside down and she was conned out of $62,000 (£45,565) by the "fake Heiress."
It all started with Anna asking to borrow money for a few smaller purchases, like a dress and a luxury meal due to her card declining. Rachel carefully kept track of what she was borrowing to make sure it was all returned the next again week.
They decided to go on a trip to Marrakech in Morocco, they stayed at La Mamounia- a luxury palace hotel - with two others. Anna originally put her card as the billing card for the room at the start of the holiday. After a coupe of days, the staff realised they couldn't take any payments from this card. When Anna's card declined she always blamed it on her bank stopping transactions due to her travelling.
Rachel said she felt pressured by both Anna and the staff to put her card on for the time being - she was assured that no payments would be made. The next day Rachel left earlier than the other two, and received a text from Anna reassuring her that she would transfer $70,000 (£51,528) into her account to cover the costs of the trip.
They were in touch daily but Rachel said: "Seeking reimbursement from Anna become a full-time job."
Writing in Vanity Fair in 2018, she recalled: "Stress consumed my sleep and fuelled my days. My co-workers saw me unravel. I came to the office looking pale and undone."
A month after the trip to Marrakech, Anna claimed to have picked up a cashier’s check to pay Rachel back. Instead of feeling relief she still felt "skeptical" and turned up to Anna's hotel room in New York unannounced to ask for the money. But Anna had yet another excuse as to why she didn't have it.
At this point it was clear that Anna couldn't be trusted, so Rachel went to the police who directed her to a civil court. Anna was eventually caught due to a sting operation set up by the police, which Rachel assisted in. Anna was not found guilty of stealing from Rachel but was found guilty of eight charges, including grand larceny in the second degree, attempted grand larceny and theft of services.
Rachel recently wrote an article for The Time expressing concerns over the Netflix documentary and said she is being "rewarded for her crimes."
She was not involved in the making of Inventing Anna but there is in face a character named “Rachel,” (played by Katie Lowes) who is described by Netflix in the following terms: “A natural-born follower whose blind worship of Anna almost destroys her job, her credit, and her life. But while her relationship with Anna is her greatest regret, the woman she becomes because of Anna may be Anna’s greatest creation.”
Rachel knew that once she shared her story on Vanity Fair back in 2018 it would become public very quickly and there was no turning back. But she was "shocked" by the Netflix description and said it stripped her of her accomplishments.
Rachel described how she feels about Anna now being in the public eye: "I have come to understand that your attention is an investment. Giving someone your attention is the act of being influenced, whether or not you’re aware of it in the moment. And especially in this age of constant stimulation, with endless people and stories competing for your clicks, likes, follows, and time, your attention has value.
"It has power. It’s worth something—it can even put money in someone’s pocket. Be careful where you spend it, and understand the cost."
Inventing Anna is now available to stream on Netflix.
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