Netflix’s new documentary “The Tinder Swindler” gave viewers a look into world-class fraud run by a bachelor who posed to be a billionaire.
The movie, released on Wednesday, was an instant hit as it climbed to the No. 2 spot on the streaming service’s top 10 movies in the country.
That’s not surprising given the widely intriguing storyline.
Who is the ‘Tinder Swindler?
Simon Leviev, 31, is from Bnei Brak, Israel, and has no connection to the billionaire Russian-Israeli diamond mogul, Lev Leviev. His real name is actually Shimon Hayut, per Esquire.
Hayut told three women in the film that he was a billionaire founder of jewel supplier LLD Diamonds.
He would show off his lavish lifestyle in the start, making his victims trust them by spending money on luxurious food, trips, activities and shopping sprees. Then, he would claim that he is in danger and his enemies are after him so he needs access to someone else’s credit card so he is untraceable, according to the film.
One woman estimated that she lent him $40,000, another said upward of $200,000. The film, according to USA Today, estimates that Hayut swindled $10 million from victims across the world.
Where is he now?
Hayut lives in Israel as a free man.
According to The Times of Israel, Hayut was “charged in Israel with theft, forgery and fraud in 2011 for cashing stolen checks, but fled before sentencing. He was convicted in Finland for defrauding women and was returned to Israel in 2017, but fled the country again.”
He then assumed a new identity and took on a career of conning women. He was arrested in 2019 and charged in Israel for crimes he committed in the country. Hayut served only five months in prison. Per the report, “Hayut had met conditions for release under a program aimed at reducing the prison population amid fears of a coronavirus outbreak among inmates.”
Pernilla Sjoholm, who was one of Hayut’s victims in the documentary, was informed of his release. Per Decider, she said, “I was in shock from the decision to release him. I’m really disappointed by (Israel’s) justice system which gives a man like that a reduced sentence. He deceived people and left prison after five months? Did you go crazy in Israel?”
What is he up to now?
Since I began writing this story, his Instagram account, @simon_leviev_official, with 159,000 followers, switched from public to private. In his last post from three months ago, he is leaning on a red Ferrari.
The caption said, “No matter what people thinking of you, always keep singing your own song.”
Hayut has undertaken a new entrepreneurial venture — he offers business advice for a fee, according to The Tab. His website states that he “made it all on his own” to become a “wealthy businessman.”
Tinder told the publication that Hayut is no longer on the app: “We have conducted internal investigations and can confirm Simon Leviev is no longer active on Tinder under any of his known aliases.”