true crime

Grace Coddington hired Yvonne to be her assistant. Then Yvonne stole over $50,000 from her.

Yvonne Bannigan always wanted to work in fashion.

Originally from Dublin, she studied at the London College of Fashion before moving to New York City to pursue her dream career.

After a year of interning at Zac Posen and ELLE, the Irish ex-pat landed a job working for Vogue’s legendary creative director-at-large, Grace Coddington.

Bannigan worked as Coddington’s assistant for two years from 2016 until 2018. During that time she appeared on a Teen Vogue spread with her now former boss.

The 26-year-old’s burgeoning fashion career came to an abrupt halt last year when Coddington noticed some strange transactions on her credit card and confronted her assistant.

According to The Cut, Bannigan denied having any involvement in the theft but was later charged with stealing $53,564 from Coddington.

It was alleged that Bannigan had purchased items for herself using several of Coddington’s credit cards. She also stole items from Coddington, sold them online, and pocketed the profits.

The fashion assistant was charged with five counts of grand larceny, which is defined as the theft of over $1000 under US law.

At her trial, Bannigan claimed the whole thing was just a big misunderstanding.

On Wednesday, Bannigan attended her sentencing hearing at Manhattan Supreme Court, dressed in a black and white polka dot dress.

She received three years probation for her crimes. She has already completed 15 days of community service under her plea deal.

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Despite her public fall from grace, Bannigan still lists herself as Coddington’s assistant on her LinkedIn profile.

This tale of the fashion assistant who scammed one of the most respected magazine editors in the world, is just one of many scammer stories dominating headlines at the moment.

Around the same time that Bannigan’s crimes were made public, the media became obsessed with the story of Anna Delvey.

Delvey, whose real name is Anna Sorokin, managed to convince Manhattan’s elite that she was a wealthy socialite.

People believed she was a millionaire German heiress and aspiring businesswoman, set to build a cultural centre akin to Soho House – a space for wealthy young artists to create, socialise and party.

But she was really the daughter of a Russian truck driver.

Sorokin and her family moved to Germany in 2007. She then moved to London after graduating from high school in 2011, briefly studying at Central Saint Martins College before dropping out and moving back to Berlin.

This is when she changed her name to Anna Delvey and took up a string of internships.

Her first was at a London PR firm, then a high-end European art magazine in Paris called Purple.

yvonne bannigan grace coddington
Anna Delvey. Image: Facebook.
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When she moved to New York in 2016, she remade herself as a socialite, telling people she was a German heiress with a trust fund and that she was planning to build a “dynamic visual-arts centre dedicated to contemporary art”.

A story so familiar in the opulent city, little questioned it.

In a celebrated piece published in The Cut last year, it seems abundantly clear that no one had ever tried particularly hard to get to the bottom of her source of seemingly endless wealth. Wealth that allowed her to stay in luxury hotels for months on end, flit around Europe in a style most can only dream of, and dine out every evening at New York’s finest eateries.

Not to mention all doing so dressed head to toe in designer finery.

It was in 2017 that Sorokin’s ruse started to fall apart.

Stories began to circulate of embarrassing dine-and-dash instances, friends were being phoned by restaurants chasing her details, and she had been reduced to couch surfing – apparently, in a bizarre twist, squatting rent-free at fellow fraudster, Fyre Festival promoter Billy McFarland’s Magnises townhouse for four months, the Evening Standard reports.

Soon enough, the charges came.

She had charges pressed by two swanky NYC hotels; Beekman and the W, after she checked out without paying her bills. She had also allegedly attempted to skip out on the bill at Le Parker Meridien, a fine dining restaurant in midtown Manhattan, which led to her being charged with three counts of misdemeanour theft of services.

But further investigation found that she had allegedly deposited hundreds of thousands of dollars of bad checks and forged bank statements in a quest for a $66 million loan.

She had also swindled her friend – or target – Vanity Fair employee Rachel Deloache Williams, out of almost $99,000 on a trip to Morocco.

On May 10, 2019, Delvey was sentenced to between four and 12 years in prison. The actual amount of time she will serve in prison will depend on factors such as her behaviour.

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