'The Tinder Swindler' True Story: Everything to Know About Netflix's New True Crime Documentary

Scammer Simon Leviev conned millions of dollars out of victims using the popular online dating app Tinder

Simon Leviev

Swipe up for a breakdown of Netflix's newest true-crime documentary.

Titled The Tinder Swindler, the two-hour film that premiered on Feb. 2 chronicles the real-life events of a serial fraudster who conned an estimated 10 million dollars out of women he attracted on the popular dating app, Tinder.

Though he disguised himself under various aliases, the swindler is widely recognized as Simon Leviev, who claimed he worked in a dangerous diamond business and was the son of billionaire Israeli diamond oligarch Lev Leviev.

The scandal-based documentary is recounted through shocking, yet heartbreaking stories told by Cecilie Fjellhøy, Pernilla Sjöholm, and Ayleen Charlotte — three of the many women who fell victim to the Tinder trickster.

The Tinder Swindler

The documentary begins with Fjellhøy recalling her first date with Leviev after he flew her out on a private jet from London to Bulgaria for just one night in January 2018 (a relationship that ended in deceit, debt, and distress). However, the fraudster's scheme didn't start there.

The Tinder Swindler isn't the only fraudster-focused true crime title to hit the streamer this year. The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman premiered on Jan. 18, while Inventing Anna, Shonda Rhimes' new crime series based on true events, enters the mix on Feb. 11.

The Tinder Swindler

Keep scrolling for more on The Tinder Swindler's Simon Leviev, including the crimes he committed, where he is now, and everything in between.

Who is Simon Leviev?

Simon Leviev

Born Shimon Hayut, the Israeli fugitive fled his home country in 2011 to avoid fraud-related offenses he committed in his early 20s. He ran off to Finland, where he was sentenced to two years in a Finnish prison in 2015 after being charged for defrauding three women, as reported by The Times of Israel.

He returned to Israel in 2017, but before he could be arrested again, he fled to Europe for a second time officially changing his name to Simon Leviev. This is where the chronicle of The Tinder Swindler picks up, detailing Fjellhøy's story.

Under his fabricated identity, he described himself as a wealthy heir working in the diamond business for LLD Diamonds, claiming he was the son of Lev Leviev, a mogul who's known in Israel as "the King of Diamonds."

Although LLD Diamonds and Lev Leviev are legit, Simon Leviev has zero relation to the diamond tycoon family, and according to The Times of Israel, the businessman "filed a complaint against Hayut with police for falsely presenting himself as his son."

What crimes did Simon Leviev commit?

The Tinder Swindler

As described in the Netflix documentary, Leviev would attract women on Tinder with his affluent lifestyle working in the diamond industry. Once a long-distance relationship was established, he'd ask them for thousands of dollars so that he could escape the dangers of the business — all while he was "traveling for work" and living lavishly on his previous victims' dime.

"He's very smart about it. He doesn't ask for money the first time, it's more security of the name. I know it's the same thing," said Fjellhøy on Lorraine. She added that he'd also say, "I can't use my cards because they're going to track my name, so can I use your card so I can travel under the name Cecilie Fjellhøy?"

Did Simon Leviev go to jail?

Simon Leviev

After serving two years in a Finnish jail in 2015, Leviev was a wanted man in a number of countries such as Israel, Sweden, England, Germany, Denmark, and Norway — but it wasn't until he was caught by police in Greece in 2019 after using a fraudulent passport that he was deported back to Israel.

Although he denied all charges against him, telling Israel's Channel 12 News, "I never presented myself as the son of anyone, but people use their imaginations," he was sentenced to 15 months in prison.

In December 2019, he was convicted of fraud, theft, and forgery and sentenced to 15 months in prison. Following five months of jail time, he was released on "good behavior."

Where is Simon Leviev now?

The Tinder Swindler

Following his release from prison, Leviev is still very active on social media, posting content daily.

In addition to living his luxurious lifestyle that's filled with private jets, designer clothes, and expensive cars galore, he also has a website (though currently inactive) offering business advice, charging clients over $300.

While the three women featured in the documentary are still paying off their debts, Leviev "has never been charged with defrauding them," as stated in the film. In total, it's estimated that he's swindled over $10 million from people across the globe.

Leviev refused to take part in the Netflix documentary, and he's been back on Tinder since his release.

Is Simon Leviev banned from Tinder?

As of Friday, Feb. 25, Leviev has been banned from Tinder.

"We have conducted internal investigations and can confirm Simon Leviev is no longer active on Tinder under any of his known aliases," Tinder said in a statement to Variety.

Although Leviev is banned from the dating platform, he still remains active on Instagram with over 200,000 followers. On the same day that Leviev was blocked from Tinder, he wrote on his Instagram Story that he was preparing to tell his version of the story ⁠— but removed the post later that afternoon.

The day before the documentary was released, Tinder added new guidelines, titled: "Romance Scams: How to Protect Yourself Online," while also noting that scammers use the platform to prey on "vulnerable" people "looking for love," as reported by The Washington Post.

Did the victimized women get their money back?

While the documentary stated that many women were victimized by Leviev's swindling, the three that chose to speak out for the documentary expressed that they were conned out of thousands of dollars and have never been repaid, remaining in debt to this day.

Cecilie Fjellhøy, Pernilla Sjöholm, and Ayleen Charlotte have started a GoFundMe fundraiser, stating on the page, "All we want are our lives back."

Since there have been fake pages created in their names, Fjellhøy uploaded a video of herself to confirm that the recent page is legit.

855 people have donated since they created the page on Feb. 6, raising nearly $27,000 out of their $800,000 goal.

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