Simon Leviev

Simon Leviev (Hebrew: סיימון לבייב; born Shimon Yehuda Hayut, 27 September 1990) is an Israeli conman convicted of theft, forgery and fraud.[3][4] According to The Times of Israel, between 2017 and 2019 he allegedly conned an estimated $10 million from victims across Europe in a Ponzi scheme.[5][6] His criminal activity became widely known in 2019 after the publication of an article titled "The Tinder Swindler" by investigative journalists from the Norwegian tabloid Verdens Gang, with the support of Israeli journalist Uri Blau, and later with the release of the 2022 Netflix documentary of the same name.[7]

Simon Leviev
Born
Shimon Yehuda Hayut

(1990-09-27) 27 September 1990 (age 31)[1]
Ramat Elchanan, Bnei Brak, Israel
Other namesMordechai Nisim Tapiro, Michael Bilton, Avraham Levy, David Sharon[1]
Criminal statusReleased, but still wanted by several countries
Criminal chargeTheft, forgery and fraud
Penalty
  • 3 years in Finnish prison
  • 15 months in Israeli prison, 150,000 compensation, 20,000 fine
Wanted by
Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, Spain[2]
Imprisoned atFinland (2015), Israel (2019)

In 2015, Leviev was sentenced to two years in prison in Finland, and in 2019 to 15 months in prison in Israel.[8] As of 2019, he is still wanted in several countries for fraud.[6]

Early lifeEdit

Leviev was born Shimon Yehuda Hayut (Hebrew: שמעון יהודה חיות) in 1990 in Ramat Elchanan, Bnei Brak, Israel.[6] His father is Yohanan Hayut, the chief rabbi of El Al airlines.[9] At the age of 15 he moved to Brooklyn, New York in the US with his family's friends,[1] who later accused him of misusing their credit card.[10] According to interviews done by Felicity Morris, Leviev has been committing minor cons like cheque fraud since he was a teenager.[11] He later changed his legal name from Shimon Hayut to Simon Leviev, using the surname Leviev to pretend he was related to Lev Avnerovich Leviev, an Israeli businessman known as "The King of Diamonds".[12]

Criminal activity and legal troubleEdit

In 2011, Hayut was charged in Israel with theft, forgery, and fraud for cashing stolen checks.[6] According to reports, he stole a checkbook belonging to a family while babysitting their child, and another's while working as a handyman at their home.[6] He never showed up in court, and escaped the country across the border into Jordan with a fake passport under the name Mordechai Nisim Tapiro, and fled to Europe.[1][13] In 2012, he was indicted by an Israeli court and charged with theft and forgery of checks, as well as for leaving a five-year-old he was babysitting unattended.[1] In 2015, he was arrested in Finland and was sentenced to three years in prison for defrauding several women.[14] When arrested in Finland, he claimed he was an Israeli man born in 1978 and was found with two forged Israeli passports, three forged Israeli driver's licenses, two forged Israeli flight permits, and five forged American Express credit cards.[14]

After finishing his sentence early, he returned to Israel to be recharged and sentenced in 2017. However, according to The Times of Israel, he assumed a different identity by changing his legal name to Simon Leviev and fled the country again.[12][6] Hayut travelled around Europe, pretending to be different people. He exploited several women in Germany using the name Michael Bilton.[15] He also presented himself as the son of Russian-Israeli diamond mogul Lev Leviev, using the dating app Tinder to contact women as Leviev, and tricked them into loaning him money that he never repaid. He would charm women with lavish gifts, taking them to dinners on private jets using money he borrowed from other women he previously conned.[6] He would later pretend he was being targeted by his "enemies", often sending the same messages and images pretending that his bodyguard was attacked, asking his victims to help him financially; they would often take out bank loans and new credit cards in order to help.[13] He would then use the money gained through the deception to lure new victims, while essentially operating a Ponzi scheme.[13][16] Later, he would pretend to repay his victims by sending forged documents showing fake bank transfers.[13]

In 2019, he was arrested by Interpol in Greece after using a forged passport.[6][17] Later that year, he was sentenced to 15 months in prison in Israel,[8][18] but was released five months later as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.[19] According to The Mirror, he later offered "business advice" for a fee via a website.[20][21] According to The Times of Israel, in 2020 he pretended to be a medical worker to get the COVID-19 vaccine early.[22][23]

Hayut is also wanted for various fraud and forgery offenses by Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom and Spain.[6][2] In an interview with CNN on 21 February 2022, he denied defrauding the women, claiming he was just a "single guy who wanted to meet some girls on Tinder."[24]

On February 2022 attorneys for the Leviev family filed a criminal complaint against Hayut with the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court, for libelous publications, infringing privacy and violating trademark orders.[25][26]

In popular cultureEdit

In 2022, Netflix released a video documentary, The Tinder Swindler, which describes his story as told by some of his victims.[3][27] According to The Washington Post, following the release of the documentary, Tinder banned Hayut from their app.[28] He is also banned from other apps under Match Group Inc, including Match.com, Plenty of Fish, and OkCupid.[29][30]

In 2022, shortly after the release of the documentary, Leviev signed with talent manager Gina Rodriguez of Gitoni Inc., in hopes of pursuing a career in the entertainment industry.[31] He also has a Cameo account, where he charged $200 for personalized videos and $2,000 for business videos.[32]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e "Svindlerens ofre". VG Nett (in Norwegian). 19 February 2019. Archived from the original on 8 February 2022. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  2. ^ a b Devereux, Charlie (22 April 2022). "Netflix's notorious 'Tinder Swindler' Shimon Hayut wanted by Spanish police - News". The Times. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  3. ^ a b Cumming, Ed (5 February 2022). "The Tinder Swindler tells the story of a cruel yet charismatic conman – review". The Independent. Archived from the original on 8 February 2022. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  4. ^ Malkin, Marc (4 February 2022). "'Tinder Swindler' Con Artist 'Simon Leviev' Banned From Dating App". Variety. Archived from the original on 8 February 2022. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  5. ^ Kranc, Lauren (2 February 2022). "'The Tinder Swindler' True Story: Where Is Simon Leviev Now?". Esquire. Archived from the original on 8 February 2022. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i "'Tinder Swindler' extradited back to Israel to face charges". Times of Israel. 7 October 2019. Archived from the original on 8 February 2022.
  7. ^ Horton, Adrian (2 February 2022). "'Catfishing on a whole other level': the shocking story of the Tinder Swindler". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 8 February 2022. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  8. ^ a b "Israeli 'Tinder swindler' sentenced to 15 months in prison". Time of Israel. 30 December 2019. Archived from the original on 8 February 2022.
  9. ^ Breger, Sarah. "The Bnei Brak Bachur who became the Tinder Swindler". momentmag.com. Moment Magazine. Retrieved 18 March 2022.
  10. ^ "Israelsk ektepar i New York: Tindersvindleren lurte oss for 42.000 dollar". VG Nett (in Norwegian Bokmål). 22 February 2019. Archived from the original on 8 February 2022. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  11. ^ "Beware the Tinder Swindler, a Real-Life Dating-App Villain". Vanity Fair. 2 February 2022. Archived from the original on 8 February 2011. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  12. ^ a b Padin, Malvika (3 February 2022). "All the details about Tinder Swindler Simon Leviev - including where he is now". mirror. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  13. ^ a b c d Natalie Remøe Hansen; Kristoffer Kumar; Erlend Ofte Arntsen (16 February 2019). "The Tinder Swindler". VG Nett. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  14. ^ a b Sipilä, Jarkko (7 February 2016). "Israelilainen "monimiljonääri" huijasi naisia - kolme synkkää tarinaa". mtvuutiset.fi (in Finnish). Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  15. ^ ""Ich dachte, das ist einer, der dich an Menschenhändler verkauft"". Berner Oberländer (in German). 9 March 2019. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  16. ^ Steinberg, Jessica (3 February 2022). "'Tinder Swindler' documentary on Israeli con man hits Netflix". The Times of Israel. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  17. ^ "Israel requests extradition of Tinder fraudster". VG Nett. 2 July 2019. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  18. ^ "Tindersvindleren dømt til 15 måneders fengsel". VG Nett (in Norwegian Bokmål). 30 December 2019. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  19. ^ Mitchell, Molli (4 February 2022). "LLD Diamonds responds to "Tinder Swinder" Simon Leviev's lies". Newsweek. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  20. ^ O'Sullivan, Kyle (2 February 2022). "Tinder Swindler went back on dating app after sick scam and now seeing a model". mirror. Retrieved 13 February 2022.
  21. ^ "Home | Simon Leviev". 2 February 2022. Archived from the original on 2 February 2022. Retrieved 13 February 2022.
  22. ^ "'Tinder swindler' faked being medic, conned his way into early vaccine – report". The Times of Israel. 30 December 2020. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  23. ^ "What happened to Tinder Swindler Shimon Hayut after the scam is covered Netflix". inews.co.uk. 3 February 2022. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  24. ^ France, Lisa Respers (21 February 2022). "'Tinder Swindler's' Simon Leviev 'just wanted to meet some girls'". CNN. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
  25. ^ Shafir, Nitsan (28 February 2022). "Leviev family files criminal complaint against 'Tinder Swindler'". Globes. Retrieved 29 June 2022.
  26. ^ "'Tinder Swindler' Simon Leviev sued by diamond magnate's family over impersonation". NBC News. 1 March 2022. Retrieved 4 March 2022.
  27. ^ Vernon, Polly (1 February 2022). "I was in love with the Tinder Swindler". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  28. ^ Hassan, Jennifer (6 February 2022). "'Tinder Swindler' con artist, subject of new Netflix documentary, reportedly banned from dating app". Washington Post. Retrieved 6 February 2022.
  29. ^ "Simon Leviev, subject of Netflix's 'Tinder Swindler,' banned from dating apps". NBC News. 8 February 2022. Retrieved 8 February 2022.
  30. ^ Southern, Keiran (8 February 2022). "Tinder Swindler Simon Leviev banned from dating apps". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 18 February 2022.
  31. ^ "'Tinder Swindler' Simon Leviev Joins Cameo, Signs With Manager: Inside His Hollywood Plans | Entertainment Tonight". www.etonline.com. Retrieved 22 February 2022.
  32. ^ "Tinder Swindler's 'Simon Leviev' records Cameo videos for fans at £146 each". The Independent. 18 February 2022. Retrieved 22 February 2022.

External linksEdit