The creators of the twisted Don’t F**k with Cats: Hunting an Internet Killer docu-series are back with a brand-new documentary for us. It’s called The Tinder Swindler, and it’ll make you wary of every right swipe. 

 

Israeli Frank Abagnale? 

 

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The documentary focuses on the life of Simon Leviev aka Shimon Yehuda Hayut—a seemingly sweet-talking conman who called himself the “Prince of Diamonds.” Leviev would pretend to be the perfect boyfriend by taking his dates out on expensive dinners and on private jet rides, and luring them with fake promises. 

He did this by posing to be the son of Lev Leviev, an Israeli billionaire, who is known as the “King of Diamonds.” The con was so perfectly orchestrated that no one had any reason to doubt his intentions. He even hired an array of full-time staff and fabricated photos of himself with the original Leviev family. 

After gaining their trust, Simon would then weave a story about his life being in danger and how desperately he needed to “borrow” some cash. He would then convince the girl to open up a huge line of credit for him. Once he got the money, he’d move on to his next target. And the cycle would repeat

But if you’ve already seen the documentary and are wondering who Simon is or what he’s up to, we did some digging to get more facts. 

 

Catch Me If You Can 

Simon Leviev

Before he was Simon Leviev, son of Lev Leviev, he was Shimon Hayut, born in Bnei Brak, east of Tel Aviv. From an early age, Shimon got himself into trouble for cashing stolen checks, forgery and stealing in 2011. But just as the authorities could nab him, he fled. 

Shimon, now under the name of ‘Simon,’ later emerged in Finland, where he was convicted for defrauding three women and served two years in jail. Upon his release in 2017, he went back to Israel. But before he could be arrested, he escaped again and made his way to Europe. This is where the sequence of events seen in the documentary takes place.  

 

Nabbed, finally

Simon Leviev

A wanted man in Israel, England, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Norway, Simon was finally caught for travelling with a fake passport in Greece. This too is showcased in the documentary.

However, at the time, he denied all allegations against him saying, “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 adds, “Maybe their hearts were broken during the process…I never took a dime from them; these women enjoyed themselves in my company, they travelled and got to see the world on my dime.” 

 

Banned from Tinder

After the premiere of the documentary, Tinder official gave a statement to The Tab, saying “We have conducted internal investigations and can confirm Simon Leviev is no longer active on Tinder under any of his known aliases.”

 

Not enough payback

 

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After being convicted and sentenced, Simon was made to pay victims NIS 150,000 [Israeli currency] which equals around £35,000 or $43,000. This wasn’t nearly enough to cover $100,000 worth of debts each one of his victims incurred.

 

He lives as a free man 

 

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As a surprise to all of us, Simon only served 5 months of his 15-month sentence. He was released as a part of reducing Israel’s prison population, forced by the Covid outbreak. No further charges have been bought up against him in the country so far. 

One of the victims, Pernilla Sjöholm, who was also featured in the documentary told Israel’s Channel 12 News, “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?”

Another of his victim, an unnamed Finnish woman, shared the same sentiment “Myself and some other women filed lawsuits against him with the European Court of Justice and submitted complaints against him with Interpol. Private investigators and Interpol people are waiting for him to leave Israel to arrest him.“

 

He posed as a medic to get the vaccine early 

 

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It doesn’t seem like prison time has done Simon any good. After his release, he was accused of lying about being a medic. Why? Just to take get the vaccine early. Saying in a statement, “I am not someone who waits in line or at places. With all due respect, I will not sit and wait three to four hours. I am not someone who waits and no one can say a word about it.”