Israeli ‘Tinder Swindler’ exposed in new Netflix film

Netflix's new documentary The Tinder Swindler tells the story of one Israeli man who cheated women out of millions.

 Tinder Swindler  (photo credit: NETFLIX)
Tinder Swindler
(photo credit: NETFLIX)

If you’re on Tinder and you see a cute guy named Simon Leviev or Shimon Hayut, swipe left, ladies, swipe left.

That’s the message of the new Netflix documentary, The Tinder Swindler, which details how a young Israeli who goes by both of those names promised love and luxury to a number of attractive young women, only to swindle them out of millions of dollars.

His real name is Shimon Hayut and he is from a modest background in Bnei Brak, but using the Leviev name, he managed to convince many young women he met on dating apps that he was the son of Russian-Israeli diamond mogul Lev Leviev. He served prison sentences in Finland and Israel, where he was released after only five months behind bars of a 15-month sentence in 2020, due to the pandemic. According to news reports, he was up to his old tricks during the COVID crisis and posed as a healthcare worker to try to get the vaccine early.

His M.O. with women rarely varied. He would ask European women out for coffee and then dazzle them by suggesting they travel with him on a private jet to another city, often in another country, where he would invite them to a lavish hotel. After starting a romance with them, he would begin complaining that in the midst of a business deal, he was having problems with his credit card. Having established that he was very wealthy, he asked them for loans to tide him over until he could straighten out the credit card issues. Other times, he claimed that due to gangsters in the diamond industry, an attempt had been made on his life and he and his bodyguard had been beaten badly, often sharing the same photos of his accomplice’s bloodied head with different girlfriends. These women were not wealthy and they had to max out their own credit cards and take loans to give him the money but they did this, because they trusted him completely. With one woman, he claimed to be a father who was no longer with his child’s mother, but said that they were still friends, and had the supposed mother and child come along on the private plane.

It was a Ponzi scheme, in which he would use one woman’s cash to ensnare his next victim. The swindler’s marks all ended up hundreds of thousands of Euros in debt.  

 Tinder Swindler  (credit: NETFLIX) Tinder Swindler (credit: NETFLIX)

One of them, Ayleen Charlotte, sold his clothes on eBay and got a bit of her cash back. She also figured out that when he went offline, he must have been on a plane. She alerted authorities to the fact that he was traveling under a forged passport with a fake name and he was arrested when his plane landed in Greece. Since the release of the film last week, she has become a social media sweetheart, with many cheering her on for swindling the swindler.

 Tinder Swindler  (credit: NETFLIX) Tinder Swindler (credit: NETFLIX)

He is now a free man and while his victims have the satisfaction of knowing he has been exposed, many of them still owe huge sums of money. They have received both support and criticism on social media, and now, sadder and wiser, they are still looking for love. While it is easy to judge these women, many people might be swayed by a charming hustler.

Perhaps women need to establish a new dating rule: No private jet jaunts until the third date.

Hayut is currently in a relationship with Israeli model Katya Konlin, and the two live together in a luxury building in the center of Israel.

On Sunday, a surfer saw Konlin and sent photos to Walla. The model was with a friend in a luxury restaurant in the north of Tel Aviv, and her face expressions seemed to show that she's had better days.

After The Tinder Swindler aired, the model blocked her Instagram account, and in a social media post, it was written that she and her family are facing an attack of hate messages. It is unclear whether Konlin herself wrote the post or whether it was written by an imposter. 

Walla contributed to this report.