Over the past 2 weeks, people from 92 countries have been seeing Netflix’s recent documentary in their “top 10 in your country” list. The Tinder Swindler quickly became the first documentary released by Netflix to get the first place on the streaming platform’s global weekly viewing chart. Just in the first week from its release on 2 February, it accumulated 45.8 million viewing hours, which is a staggering 12 million more than the second film in the ranking.
1. What is it about?
The documentary tells the story of Israelian conman Shimon Hayut in his quest to steal millions of dollars from innocent women.
Although already convicted in Israel for fraud, Shimon manages to change his name and flee the country. He takes the name of Simon Leviev and claims to be the son of Israeli Russian diamond tycoon Lev Leviev.
We were very surprised to watch the documentary, it was just sad seeing the fraud committed by this person, as Israelis, as Jews, and of course personally, as the Leviev family.Hagit Leviev, Lev Leviev’s daughter
2. The con
How does he manage to trick so many women in such a short period of time? Once they match on Tinder, he makes sure to arrange an extravagant and luxurious first date that leaves the girls under the impression that he is truly a “prince of diamonds”.
Soon after the women declare their love for him, he tells the story of how he has a lot of enemies.Due to the nature of his father’s business, but also because the family is Jewish, he says there are a lot of ‘bad people’ out there trying to get him. After he makes use of a photo of his bodyguard with blood all over himself, he says his enemies got to him and he is no longer safe.
Of course, any girlfriend worries about the safety of her partner, even more so after having received pictures from the hospital. So this is the perfect time to start asking for money. Because these bad people are so close to him, he is unable to use his own credit cards anymore, so he asks the girls to take credits out in their name, but give him the cards and even cash. He then sends some false transfer papers as proof of repayment and blames the banks for not processing the transactions. Then he starts ghosting his victims.
As soon as the women start suspecting something and try to question him, he goes through various mood swings, from aggressive and threatening to helpless and loving, saying he just needs some support through such horrible times, but he will soon be back on his feet.
3. The fall-out
Cecilie Fjellhøy contacts VG and tells them her story. The newspaper then starts a very thorough investigation of the case, following Simon’s trace all the way to Israel, where they learn his true name of Shimon.
With the story out, Shimon is unable to run his charade and has to lay low for a while. He contacts the only woman he thinks still trusts him, Ayleen Charlotte, from The Netherlands, and she agrees to meet with him and help him by selling his designer clothes. Ayleen not only keeps the money for herself, but she figures out his travel plans, and shares with the police.
He is apprehended in Greece and extradited to Israel.
4. Now what?
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.Tinder spokesperson
In 2019 he received a sentence of 15 months for the crimes committed in Israel, but got out of jail after just 4. Soon after he was seen living his luxurious life again, with a new girlfriend.
Tinder declared they ran their own internal investigation on Shimon and deleted all the accounts under any of his known aliases.
He has recently created an account, under the name Simon Leviev, on the Cameo platform, where celebrities share videos with congratulations or birthday wishes for their fans. He is charging £148 for personal use and £1,036 for corporate. He alredy has two 5 star reviews from excited fans.