Wednesday 22nd of March 2023

Nairobi, Kenya

Where Is The Tinder Swindler Simon Leviev Now?

The subject of Netflix’s latest scandal-based documentary has never been charged with the crimes recounted in the shocking film.

On their first date, back in January 2018, Simon Leviev took Cecilie Fjellhøy on a private plane from London to Bulgaria just for a night. They had met on Tinder, and after a coffee date at his hotel, he’d expressed regret that he had to leave for a business trip…but maybe she’d like to join him? She googled her date he was the son of the “king of diamonds” Lev Leviev, a famed Russian-Israeli diamond oligarch.

She quickly went home and packed a bag while his driver waited. It was the beginning of a whirlwind relationship that would ultimately leave her heartbroken, deceived, and more than $200,000 in debt. Netflix’s latest true crime documentary The Tinder Swindler allows Cecilie, along with Pernilla Sjöholm and Ayleen Charlotte just three of the many victims of Simon Leviev to tell their stories.

Born Shimon Hayut in Bnei Brak, a city just east of Tel Aviv, Simon Leviev did change his name, but in fact, had no relation to the Israeli diamond tycoon family whatsoever. He initially fled Israel in 2011 to avoid going to trial for fraud-related crimes he’d committed in his early 20s and headed to Finland, where he began running the scheme now outlined in Netflix’s new documentary.

In 2015, he served 2 years in Finnish prison after swindling three women, and upon his 2017 release, he went back to Israel. Before he could be arrested, he escaped again, heading back to Europe, where The Tinder Swindler picks up with Cecilie’s story.

His scheme, according to the new Netflix doc, was as follows: he would meet women on Tinder, lead them to believe he was a wealthy heir working in the dangerous diamond business, and begin long-distance relationships. All the while, he was “traveling for work” and living lavishly on the dime of his previous target. After he’d been dating one woman for a while, he’d explain that he was in danger, send videos of his “bodyguard” bleeding, and tell his girlfriend that he needed to use a credit card in someone else’s name so he couldn’t be tracked.

His girlfriends sent credit cards, took out loans and lines of credit, and even flew suitcases of withdrawn cash to him in his time of need. He promised them he’d pay them back. Of course, they believed him, he was the prince of diamonds, flew private everywhere, stayed at the fanciest hotels, and was always dripping in designer clothing.

And he did pay them back: with checks that bounced, fake watches, and bank transfers that never went through. Little did each woman know that all the wealth they bore witness to had been paid for by the woman who came before them women her were, by that time, alone, in debt, and desperate for answers.

A wanted man in Israel, Sweden, England, Germany, Denmark, and Norway, Leviev was finally caught by the police using a fake passport in Greece in July of 2019 and extradited to Israel after the wild events of Netflix’s documentary. At the time, he denied all charges against him.

“I have the right to choose whatever name I want, I never presented myself as the son of anyone, but people use their imaginations,” he told Israel’s Channel 12 news. “Maybe their hearts were broken during the process…I never took a dime from them; these women enjoyed themselves in my company, they traveled and got to see the world on my dime,” he said.

In December of 2019, he was convicted of theft, fraud, and forgery of documents in Israel charges from 2011, unrelated to his crimes across Europe, and sentenced to 15 months in prison. After serving five months of jail time, he was released on good behavior.

“How can you give trust to a man like that, who escaped from Israel twice? A man that deceived and swindled women in Europe for hundreds of thousands of euros. Where is the justice?” Pernilla Sjöholm told Israel’s Channel 12 News when the news of Simon’s release from prison broke.

“Myself and some other women filed lawsuits against him with the European Court of Justice and submitted complaints against him with Interpol,” said a Finnish woman who wished to remain anonymous. “Private investigators and Interpol people are waiting for him to leave Israel to arrest him,” said another victim. “He ruined my life and shattered me emotionally and financially.”

Currently 31 years old, Simon Leviev lives as a free man in Israel, according to Instagram stories shown in The Tinder Swindler. Before the documentary landed on Netflix, his account was active with nearly 100,000 followers, although it was set to private. But as the doc gained popularity in the last few days, Simon deactivated his Instagram altogether.

Before deleting the account, he wrote: “Thank you for all your support. I will share my side of the story in the next few days when I have sorted out the best and most respectful way to tell it, both to the involved parties and myself. Until then, please keep an open mind and heart.”

Simon Leviev has not been charged for any crimes that may have occurred outside of Israel, including the conning of Cecilie Fjellhøy, Pernilla Sjöholm, or Ayleen Charlotte, who appear in Netflix’s doc. According to The Times of Israel, he allegedly swindled an estimated $10 million dollars from victims across the continent from 2017-to 2019 alone. Cecilie, Pernilla, and Ayleen are still paying off their debts.

Content courtesy of  Esquire & NFH Digital Team 

Simon Leviev, Subject Of Netflix’s ‘Tinder Swindler,’ Banned From Dating Apps

Tinder released a new set of guidelines on how to spot a scammer and what not to do while dating online but did not mention Leviev or the documentary.

Simon Leviev, the subject of Netflix’s new documentary “The Tinder Swindler,” was banned from dating apps like Tinder and Hinge after the filmmakers alleged he scammed several women for an estimated total of $10 million.

“The Tinder Swindler” follows three women who said they were conned by Leviev, an Israeli man they all separately met on Tinder sometime between 2018 and 2019.

In the documentary, the women alleged that Leviev whose real name is Shimon Hayut claimed he was the son of a wealthy tycoon, took them out on extravagant dates, and started relationships with them before eventually scamming them out large sums of money.

At the time of its release on Feb. 2, “The Tinder Swindler” said Hayut was back on Tinder a statement that the company denied in a statement to NBC News.

“We banned Simon Leviev and any of his known aliases as soon as the story of his actions became public in 2019,” a Tinder spokeswoman said.

“In the lead up to the release of the documentary, we conducted additional internal investigations and can confirm Simon Leviev is not active on Tinder under any of his known aliases.”

Hayut was also banned from using dating sites and apps under Match Group Inc, including Match.com, Plenty of Fish, and OkCupid, she said.

Attempts to reach Netflix and Hayut were unsuccessful on Tuesday.

Hayut did not appear in the documentary but a voice message the filmmakers said he sent to them was included in the film.

“I will proceed with the lawsuit against you for defamation and lies and, you know, that everything is based, basically, on a lie. And that’s it, this is how it’s gonna be,” Hayut said in the voice message.

On Feb. 1, a day before the documentary was released, Tinder published a set of new guidelines titled, “Romance Scams: How to Protect Yourself Online.”

The fact sheet did not mention Hayut or the documentary, but it included tips on how to identify a scammer and what not to do while dating online.

In July 2019, Hayut was arrested in Greece and extradited back to Israel, where he was convicted of four fraud charges and ordered to compensate his victims a total of more than $43,000, the Times of Israel reported. He was released after only serving five months of his 15-month sentence.

Since his release in May 2020, Hayut has lived as a free man and regularly posted on his Instagram account, which amassed more than 100,000 followers, according to the Times of Israel.

His Instagram account was deleted as of Tuesday morning.

Content courtesy of NBC News & NFH Digital Team

The Latest on Tinder Swindler Simon Leviev and His victims

Here’s what the central characters from the Netflix documentary The Tinder Swindler are up to now.

Just ahead of Valentine’s Day, Netflix’s true-crime documentary The Tinder Swindler is here to showcase one of the ultimate examples of online dating gone wrong.

The Tinder Swindler, now streaming on Netflix, tells the story of a man named Simon Leviev (born Shimon Hayut) who used the online dating platform to meet women, lure them with an extravagant lifestyle of real private jets and fancy hotels (and a made-up fake identity as the son of the CEO of a diamond company) and eventually con them into giving him money via credit cards and loans.

Online romance scams are more common than you might think. In September, the FBI reported that its Internet Crime Complaint Center had received more than 1,800 reports relating to online romance scams in 2021 alone. Those complaints accounted for about $133.4 million in losses for people deceived by scammers.

After realizing Hayut was a grifter and losing hundreds of thousands of dollars, the three women featured in the documentary — Cecilie Fjellhøy, Pernilla Sjoholm, and Ayleen Charlotte — worked with law enforcement and journalists from a major Norwegian newspaper called VG to try to put an end to Hayut’s scams.

Here’s an update on Fjellhøy, Sjoholm, Charlotte, and Hayut.

Shimon Hayut/Simon Leviev

The documentary reports that after being arrested by Interpol in July 2019, Hayut was sentenced to 15 months in jail for crimes committed in Israel. He only served five months, however, and was released because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

After his release, the documentary said, Hayut started a website offering business advice, and from his social media accounts, didn’t seem to be hurting for money. He’d even been seen back on Tinder. That’s no longer the case, though. The dating app said it banned Hayut from its platform. What’s more, Tinder’s parent company, Match Group, confirmed that Leviev is banned from all other dating apps owned by the company.

“We have conducted internal investigations and can confirm Simon Leviev is no longer active on Tinder under any of his known aliases,” Tinder said in a statement. The Independent reported Monday that Hayut deleted his Instagram account. The documentary estimates Hayut has managed to swindle about $10 million from people around the world.

Hayut wasn’t reachable for comment.

Cecilie Fjellhøy, Pernilla Sjoholm and Ayleen Charlotte

The documentary showed the lengths Cecilie Fjellhøy, Pernilla Sjoholm and Ayleen Charlotte went to in working with journalists and law enforcement to catch Hayut and ideally prevent him from taking advantage of other women. At the end of The Tinder Swindler, the latest update on the trio was that they were still trying to pay off their debts. In an interview with the British GQ, Sjoholm said she was bankrupt and living with her mother. Over the weekend all three created a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising £600,000 ($811,206). As of Tuesday, they’ve raised more than £38,000 ($51,000).

“The past few days have been a whirlwind, and we three (Ayleen, Pernilla, and Cecilie) have been completely shocked and floored by the flood of compassion and support from everyone,” they wrote in the fundraiser description. “All we want are our lives back.”

Content Courtesy of CNet & NFH Digital Team 

‘The Tinder Swindler’ Simon Leviev Pushes Back Against Netflix Documentary Accusations: ‘They Should Have Arrested Me’

Shimon Hayut, who went by the alias Simon Leviev and was the subject of Netflix’s “The Tinder Swindler,” is pushing back against the claims in the true-crime documentary.

On Monday, Hayut’s Instagram account was peppered with responses to the documentary, which premiered on February 2. But within hours, the entire account had been removed.

“If I was a fraud why would I act on Netflix,” the text read in an Instagram story shared to his followers. “I mean they should have arrested me when we were still shooting. It’s high time the ladies start saying the truth.”

He continued: “If you can’t give them the world they want they’ll turn yours to hell. I will be addressing the whole world on Friday. Stay tuned and tag others.”

In another story seen by Insider prior to its removal, Hayut added: “Say my name #simontruth.”

Representatives for Instagram did not immediately return Insider’s request for comment about why Hayut’s account (which was featured in parts of the Netflix documentary) has been removed or deactivated.

As shown at the end of “The Tinder Swindler,” Hayut was asked by the documentary creators to take part in the feature, but his only response was a voice message that accused the team of defamation. It’s unclear at this point what Hayut’s Instagram mention of “acting” or “shooting” anything on Netflix was in reference to.

“The Tinder Swindler” follows a group of women who set out to track down a dating app user who they say tricked them out of millions of dollars with the help of the media and local police.

As previously reported by Insider, Finnish investigative journalists, with help from women who said they were conned by Hayut, found out his true identity in 2019. He was arrested and convicted in Finland in 2015 on charges of defrauding several women, serving two years in prison. In December of 2019, he was also sentenced to 15 months in prison in Israel after twice fleeing the country to avoid charges of theft, forgery, and fraud in 2011 and again in 2017. Hayut served five of the 15 months before being released in May of 2020.

Netflix’s “The Tinder Swindler” documentary alleged he’s scammed an estimated $10 million from women he’s dated and families he’s worked for, and he has been reported to police in seven different countries.

On Friday, Variety reported that Tinder said Hayut is no longer actively using the app.

“We have conducted internal investigations and can confirm Simon Leviev is no longer active on Tinder under any of his known aliases,” Tinder said in a statement to Variety.

After the documentary premiered on Wednesday, Hayut said his social media account was hacked. On Friday, he thanked his followers for their “support,” adding: “I will share my side of the story in the next few days when I have sorted out the best and most respectful way to tell it, both to the involved parties and myself.”

By Monday morning, his account was active once again. Many Instagram posts from Hayut’s account, who still identifies himself as Leviev, appeared on his story page throughout Monday morning and afternoon. Then, without warning, the account was gone again.

“The Tinder Swindler” is available now on Netflix.

Disclosure: Mathias Döpfner, CEO of Business Insider’s parent company, Axel Springer, is a Netflix board member.

Content courtesy of Insider & NFH Digital Team 

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