- A lawyer who once represented scammer Anna Sorokin (AKA Anna Delvey) has been disbarred.
- A special referee found Audrey Thomas took $600,000 from an elderly client.
- Sorokin had already fired Thomas but mocked her in new artwork provided to Insider.
A lawyer who previously represented the convicted scammer Anna Sorokin has been disbarred by the state of New York after a special referee found she was running her own scam in which she took around $600,000 from an elderly client, court filings show.
In a statement to Insider, Sorokin provided an illustration of a mock book cover titled “How to Get Disbarred in 10 Days” and said she is glad Thomas can no longer represent other clients.
“I’m happy that the real story is being told and shedding light on my issues,” Sorokin told Insider. “I’m mostly comforted that she cannot do damage to anyone else’s case and life.”
The attorney, Audrey A. Thomas, was disbarred on November 9 over a finding that she misappropriated funds a client starting in 2013, according to court records viewed by Insider. The disciplinary hearing opinion, made public on Tuesday, ordered Thomas to desist from practicing law and said she would be disbarred.
Thomas has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges stemming from the allegation.
Thomas formerly represented Sorokin in the appeal of her criminal case and for immigration issues.
Sorokin is best known for pulling off her own con, which was chronicled in the Netflix show “Inventing Anna.” She was convicted in 2019 for pretending to be a wealthy European heiress named “Anna Delvey” to scam financial institutions and hotels out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Upon completing her New York state prison sentence in February 2021, Immigration and Customs Enforcement brought her back into custody and tried and deport her back to Germany, where she’s a legal resident.
Sorokin fired Thomas earlier this year, frustrated by the lack of progress on her immigration and criminal appeal cases and because Thomas refused to work during the month of April, which she described as her “birthday month.”
Thomas told Insider in a statement on Wednesday, after this article was initially published, that she would get the last laugh.
“Just remember I may not be admitted to practice law anymore but there’s nothing to stop me from appearing pro se,” she said in a text message “Tell Anna I said he who laughs last laughs the best. I AM still Audrey A Thomas AKA Sandy!!!!!!!!”
Thomas’ disbarment last week was over a completely different case that dates back nearly a decade.
According to the disbarment order, Rhea Murra hired Thomas in 2013 to help sell an apartment in Brooklyn. Thomas had access to two escrow accounts that held money from the sale.
Bank records reviewed by the special referee appointed to oversee the grievance against Thomas showed that, over the course of a year, the now-former lawyer siphoned more than $630,000 in funds to different bank accounts, including one that belonged to her law firm.
Thomas said she used the money to promote herself “as an author and radio show host” and for legal expenses but that Murray signed off on her use of the funds due to “a longstanding personal relationship.” (Thomas is the author of the book “Ego Has No Place in the Law.”)
But in a grievance hearing, Murray denied giving Thomas permission to take the proceeds from the sale and testified that she specifically asked Thomas to use the money to help pay down mortgages on other properties she and her family members owned — something Thomas never followed through on.
Thomas promised to pay back the money — but never followed through
Two of Murray’s daughters testified in a grievance hearing — one of 15 in the case that took place between July 2019 and December 2020 — that they confronted Thomas about the missing money from the escrow accounts in 2016 and that Thomas “confessed to them that she invested their mother’s money in her own name” and “urged them not to pursue the matter further.”
Thomas promised to repay them in installments but stopped adhering to the payment plan after several months, having only reimbursed $31,300. Disciplinary proceedings against Thomas started in 2018, and the family members never received the remaining balance of roughly $600,000 they were owed, according to the order.
The Queens District Attorney’s office took Thomas into custody in July 2019 on second-degree larceny charges for the alleged scheme. She pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. Thomas’s criminal defense attorney didn’t respond to Insider’s request for comment.
While Thomas had hoped to face no more than censure from the grievance proceedings, the Grievance Committee decided on revoking Thomas’ law license in the state, given that the client the committee found Thomas to have taken money from was a senior citizen and Thomas showed a “lack of remorse and acceptance of responsibility,” the committee said.
Insider was unable to reach Murray for comment.
Thomas is also in trouble over her work with Sorokin. Thomas told Insider in an interview in April that Sorokin was an “ungrateful bitch” who serves as a reminder to “eschew the evil that she tries to inspire in me and all who try to help her.”
A phalanx of new lawyers successfully sprung Sorokin from immigration custody in October, and she remains under house arrest in Manhattan as her criminal appeal and immigration case progress.
But when her new criminal defense team sought to obtain records from Sorokin’s trial to prepare for her appeal, they said Thomas refused to hand them over.
Duncan Levin, Sorokin’s appellate lawyer, filed an ethics complaint against Thomas. Sorokin also sued Thomas in September, asking she be held in contempt of court after she refused to comply with an order from New York Supreme Court Justice Diane Kiesel, who oversaw Sorokin’s criminal trial, to transfer the documents to Levin.
“We are glad that Ms. Thomas can no longer do to other clients what she did to my client, Anna Sorokin,” Levin told Insider Tuesday.
This story has been updated with a response from Thomas.