The case of a dating app conman who posed as the son of a billionaire Israeli diamond merchant to swindle women out of thousands of dollars is to be the subject of a new Netflix true crime documentary, it has been announced.
Israeli playboy Shimon Hayut, then in his late 20s, lured in trusting women by claiming he was Simon Leviev, the son of businessman Lev Leviev, who has an estimated $1billion net worth. He called himself the ‘Prince of Diamonds’.
In reality Hayut was a serial fraudster who used his charm to prey on unsuspecting singleton using online dating apps, earning him the moniker the ‘Tinder swindler’.
He convinced one victim to open a line of credit in her name so he could pay his expenses and protect himself from his ‘enemies’. She eventually lost £200,000, leaving her so distraught she had to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital.
Hayut was eventually arrested and imprisoned in December 2019 at Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court, according to The Times Of Israel, but released the following May, after serving five months of his 15-month sentence.
Israeli playboy Shimon Hayut, then in his late 20s, lured in trusting women by claiming he was Simon Leviev, the son of businessman Lev Leviev, who has an estimated $1billion net worth. He called himself the ‘Prince of Diamonds’. He was arrested in July 2019 in Greece, above
Cecilie Fjellhoy (left) said she loved ‘Simon Leviev’ and that was the hardest part of the ‘evil’ ordeal. Shimon Hayut (right) posed as Simon Leviev – the ‘Prince of Diamonds’ – son of the Jewish billionaire diamond mine owner Lev Leviev
Now the extraordinary story of international deception will be told in The Tinder Swindler, which is due to be released in February 2022 and will be directed by Felicity Morris, who helmed the hit Netflix film ‘Don’t F*** With Cats’, according to Variety.
Teasing the documentary on Twitter, Netflix promised the film would tell the story of ‘the women who set out to bring down’ the conman.
According to an investigative report by Norway’s Verdens Gang newspaper, Hayut conned women in Norway, Finland and Sweden out of hundreds of thousands of dollars using a Ponzi scheme.
He would shower women he met on the dating app with lavish trips and gifts, using money he had taken from other women. He would then ask for more money under the guise of needing to protect his identity due to security concerns.
Among Hayut’s victims was Norwegian graduate Cecilie Fjellhoy, who was living in London when she matched with Leviev.
Their first date involved a trip on a private plane to Bulgaria, and they would exchange love notes over text, videos and voice messages.
The conman escaped arrest twice by fleeing to Europe before he was imprisoned in December 2019 and served five months of 15 month sentence before being released in May 2020
Hayut told Fjellhoy that he had to travel constantly for work and that it was hard for him to visit her in London due to threats from working in the diamond business, it has been reported.
The conman first asked Fjellhoy to take out a line of credit for him in her name just four weeks into their relationship, claiming that it was a security measure due to threats against him.
He spent the money on plane tickets, hotels and dinners that were booked under her name to throw off suspicious ‘enemies’.
‘One of the main reasons why he needed it was protection…he needed my name as a cover, he said,’ Fjellhoy told Nightline in 2019. ‘I know it sounds crazy…[but] why would he have this giant guy with him if he didn’t need the protection?,’ she said, apparently referring to a bodyguard.
Fjellhoy said Hayut promised to pay her back but, as the weeks rolled by, her balance went up and up.
She claims that she filled out documents for an American Express platinum card per his instructions and he told her to file an income of £200,000. The alleged conman assured her no one was going to check it.
Fjellhoy told Norwegian news site Verdens Gang that she took the handsome young Israeli at his word. She took out huge loans for the card and claim Hayut was soon maxing out the limit.
Hayut spent two million Norwegian krone ($224,220) in just 54 days and was racking up bills on paying for his two assistants, his bodyguard and flights across the world.
Her money was being spent on Louboutins in Bangkok, on Gucci in Barcelona, at the Ritz Carlton in Berlin and the Conservatory in Amsterdam.
In July 2019, Hayut was arrested in Greece following a joint operation between Interpol and Israeli police. Israeli authorities requested his extradition to his home country, where he had been wanted on charges of theft, forgery and fraud since 2011
‘I had to be put into a hospital. Psychiatric ward,’ Fjellhoy told Nightline.
‘Because of suicidal thoughts because I thought my life was over, like I didn’t see a way out. You’ve lost your boyfriend but he didn’t just dump you, he never existed, he was never your boyfriend.’
A Finnish woman, identified by the initial, ‘D’, said Hayut had conned her out of 45,000 euros ($49,000).
‘I’m a single mom to a daughter and I gave him all the savings I had. It’s a disgrace that they released him from prison. I hope he gets the coronavirus. I hope he dies. That’s better, so he won’t hurt other women,’ she told Channel 12.
‘He’s a bad person, and I haven’t been able to rebuild my life because of him to this day. Myself and some other women filed lawsuits against him with the European Court of Justice and submitted complaints against him with Interpol.’
Hayut was arrested in the summer of 2019 in Greece in a joint opreation between Interpol and Israel Police, according to The Times Of Israel.
During in sentencing hearing, the conman told the court he was ‘sorry about everything’ and promised to ‘pay my debt to society’.
He was also ordered to pay his victims $43,289 and to pay a fine of $5,771 under the terms of a plea deal.