Tinder Swindler: Story of Israeli conman a Netflix hit

New true-crime documentary tells story of Shimon Hayut who posed as a wealthy, jet-setting diamond mogul to woo women online and con them out of millions of dollars

“The Tinder Swindler,” the latest Netflix hit about Israeli conman Shimon Hayut, who deceived and exploited women he met on the dating app, is making rounds.
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  • Sitting at #2 on Israel’s Top 10 list on Netflix, the true-crime documentary tells the story of several women who fell in love with and financially supported Hayut, who acted under the alias of Simon Leviev, son of Israeli Russian diamond tycoon Lev Leviev.
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    שמעון יהודה חיות סיימון לבייב
    שמעון יהודה חיות סיימון לבייב
    Picture taken on July 1, 2019, shows the so-called 'Tinder Swindler' Shimon Hayut, also known by the alias Simon Leviev, as he is expelled from the city of Athens, Greece
    (Photo: EPA)
    Hayut, now known to be the son of El Al Airlines chief rabbi Yohanan Hayut, would meet women on Tinder - mostly Scandinavian - and build long-distance relationships to eventually swindle them out of large sums of money.
    He would first give the women lavish experiences, staying in five-star hotels, eating at fancy restaurants, and flying in private jets.
    After several weeks of being a “perfect boyfriend,” Hayut would ask to borrow money because of the situation he found himself in the dangerous world of diamond dealing.
    He would coerce the women by sending photos of bloody clothes or his injured bodyguard in the back of an ambulance.
    Given his previous spending and apparently luxurious lifestyle, the women believed him and sent money, many times through bank loans.
    Hayut was able to develop a complex Ponzi scheme in which he would spend large amounts of money that he swindled from his previous victim on the next.
    Over the years, the series estimated that Hayut stole $10 million.
    Some of the women eventually discovered Hayut’s deception and brought their stories to investigative journalists.
    After spending two years in a Finnish prison, Hayut was returned to Israel where he was convicted and sentenced to 15 months in prison.
    After five months, though, he was released in May 2020 and currently lives as a free man.

    Reprinted with permission from i24NEWS.
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