Netflix has been churning out true crime content for years, but their latest investigation is a two hour deep-dive into the man known as The Tinder Swindler. You know, someone who swindles others on Tinder, which is more common than one would think.
Born Shimon Hayut, the Swindler changed his name to Simon Leviev, which is coincidentally the same last name as a very wealthy Israeli diamond tycoon, though they have no true relation. Leviev had many run-ins with the law for fraud-related crimes, and even spent two years in jail for swindling three women out of thousands of dollars. He was released, and you’ll never guess what happened: he went and did it again!
Here was his schtick: he would meet women on Tinder who were just looking to meet nice, honest men, and proceed to convince them he was working in the diamond industry, jet-setting around the world and living a lavish, fast-paced life.
After a few months of back and forth, Simon would suddenly explain how he was in danger, and needed money (like, a lot of money) or else he would be hurt. Since he gained the trust of innocent women like Cecilie Fjellhøy, one of the documentary’s main subjects, they would send their credit cards, loans, even a suitcase full of cash to the aid of their desperate diamond prince. Suddenly, the police were knocking on her door. “The man I love was never real. Everything’s a lie. Who is this guy I have been sharing the same bed with?”
Leviev would “pay them back” in the form of bouncing checks and fake designer clothes, then move on to the next victim, making millions off of the broken-hearted women. According to The Times of Israel, he allegedly racked up nearly $10 million dollars from his Tinder victims across the continent between 2017-2019 alone.
Eventually, his scheme got too large for him to handle, and the story began to unravel. One of Leviev’s subjects contacted the authorities after growing suspicious of his antics. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison for previous charges, but only served five.
Leviev is still a free man, who has a private Instagram with nearly 100k followers, featuring a profile photo of him sitting in a private jet. Oh, to make things worse, in 2020 he was caught impersonating a frontline health worker in order to get early access to a COVID vaccine.
You can hear the victim’s side’s of the story on The Tinder Swindler, which is now streaming on Netflix.