- A lawyer who once represented con artist Anna Sorokin (aka Anna Delvey) has been disbarred.
- A special arbitrator found that Audrey Thomas took $600,000 from an elderly client.
- Sorokin had previously fired Thomas but mocked her in new artwork provided to Insider.
A lawyer who previously represented convicted con artist Anna Sorokin has been disbarred by New York State after a special arbitrator found she was running her own scam in which she took around $600,000 from a client elderly, according to court documents.
In a statement to Insider, Sorokin provided an illustration of a fake book cover titled “How to get disbarred in 10 days” and said she was glad Thomas could no longer represent other clients.
“I’m glad the real story is being told and shedding light on my issues,” Sorokin told Insider. “I’m mostly comforted that she can’t harm someone else’s case and life.”
The attorney, Audrey A. Thomas, was disbarred Nov. 9 after discovering she embezzled funds from a client beginning in 2013, according to court records seen by Insider. The notice of the disciplinary hearing, released on Tuesday, ordered Thomas to give up the practice of law and said she would be disbarred.
Thomas has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges arising from the allegation.
Thomas previously represented Sorokin in his criminal appeal and in immigration matters.
Sorokin is best known for pulling off her own scam, which was chronicled on the Netflix show “Inventing Anna.” She was convicted in 2019 of pretending to be a wealthy European heiress named “Anna Delvey” to defraud financial institutions and hotels out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. After serving her prison sentence in New York State in February 2021, Immigration and Customs Enforcement took her back into custody and tried her and deported her to Germany, where she legally resides.
Sorokin fired Thomas earlier this year, frustrated by the lack of progress in her immigration and criminal appeal cases and because Thomas refused to work during the month of April, which she described as her “month birthday”.
Thomas told Insider in a statement Wednesday, after this article was initially published, that she would have the final say.
“Remember, I may not be licensed to practice law anymore, but there’s nothing stopping me from appearing pro se,” she said in a text message. Sandy!!!!!!!!”
Thomas’ disbarment last week was in a completely different matter that dates back nearly a decade.
According to the disbarment order, Rhea Murra hired Thomas in 2013 to help her sell an apartment in Brooklyn. Thomas had access to two escrow accounts containing the money from the sale.
Banking records reviewed by the special arbitrator appointed to oversee the grievance against Thomas showed that over the course of a year, the former lawyer siphoned off more than $630,000 in funds from various bank accounts, including one belonging to her law office.
Thomas said she used the money to promote herself “as a writer and radio show host” and for legal fees, but Murray approved her use of the funds because of a “relationship long-time personal. (Thomas is the author of the book “The ego has no place in the law”.)
But at a grievance hearing, Murray denied giving Thomas permission to withdraw the proceeds of the sale and said she specifically asked Thomas to use the money to help pay off mortgages on d other properties she and her family members owned – something Thomas never tracked. .
Thomas promised to return the money – but never followed through
Two of Murray’s daughters testified at a grievance hearing – one of 15 in the case which 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 “admitted to them that she had invested their mother’s money in her own name” and “urged them not to pursue the matter”.
Thomas promised to repay them in installments but broke off the payment plan after several months, having repaid only $31,300. Disciplinary proceedings against Thomas began in 2018 and family members never received the approximately $600,000 balance owed to them, according to the order.
The Queens District Attorney’s Office took Thomas into custody in July 2019 on second-degree robbery charges for the alleged scheme. She has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial. Thomas’ criminal defense attorney did not respond to Insider’s request for comment.
While Thomas had hoped to face only censorship of the grievance process, the grievance board decided to revoke Thomas’s law license in the state, since the client whom the board found Thomas had taken the money was a senior and Thomas showed an “absence of remorse and acceptance of responsibility,” the committee said.
Insider could not reach Murray for comment.
Thomas is also in trouble because of his work with Sorokin. Thomas told Insider in an April interview that Sorokin was an “ungrateful bitch” who reminds her “to avoid the evil she’s trying to inspire in me and everyone who tries to help her.”
A phalanx of new attorneys successfully brought Sorokin out of immigration custody in October, and she remains under house arrest in Manhattan as her criminal appeal and immigration case progress.
But when his new criminal defense team sought to obtain records from Sorokin’s trial to prepare for his appeal, they said Thomas refused to turn them over.
Duncan Levin, Sorokin’s appeals attorney, filed an ethics complaint against Thomas. Sorokin also sued Thomas in September, asking that 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’re glad Ms. Thomas can no longer do to other clients what she did to my client, Anna Sorokin,” Levin told Insider on Tuesday.
This story has been updated with a response from Thomas.