Netflix released its latest documentary, The Tinder Swindler on February 2nd, 2022, which became a sensation ever since. It focused on a shocking Ponzi scheme run by an Israeli man named Simon Hayut who assumed the fake identity of being a diamond heir, assuming the family name Leviev and scamming several women of hundreds and thousands of dollars.
Hayut met all these women via the dating app named Tinder, where he falsely displayed his alleged wealth. Yachts, private jets, expensive dinners and parties galore, Hayut lured them into believing his fake opulence.
Manipulative, calculative and charming, Hayut’s story of fraudulence has shocked the Netflix viewers. They are taken aback by this harrowing modern-day horror dating scandal. However, Hayut has still claimed to be a “legit businessman” and has talked about sharing his “side of the story” which seems to not be too different from the version of his victims’.
While it is still a massive sensation on the streamer, take a look at the five shocking real-life facts from the documentary:
Netflix’s ‘The Tinder Swindler’: 5 shocking real-life facts
5. Simon’s father was reportedly a part of his plans
Scamming people seemingly runs in the Hayut and Simon learnt from the best. His father, Yohanan Hayut, the chief rabbi of El Al Airlines, was reportedly involved in Simon’s grand Ponzi scheme and helped him plan his money swindling schemes. However, Yohanan has vehemently denied the claims.
Meanwhile, his victims are still struggling to pay off the debts that he made them incur. To sustain themselves, they started a GoFundMe page after the release of the Netflix documentary.
4. Simon and Peter are both free men
Although he received a 15-month sentence in Israel, it was reduced to five months due to his good behaviour. The Israeli government also wanted to reduce the “prison population” during the Covid-19 pandemic to prevent an unprecedented outbreak, enraging his victims and other people who were involved in the affair. The women, especially, felt cheated by the justice system.
One of his closest allies, his bodyguard Peter or Piotr is also a free man. This Polish man was one of the many people involved in Simon’s web of lies and deceit. This Polish man is still posing as his bodyguard. In the documentary, Simon sent his first victim pictures of Peter’s injury to make his story about having alleged enemies believable and extort money from her.
3. The real-life diamond mogul filed a complaint against him
Simon Hayut is still seemingly disillusioned. He assumed the fake identity of allegedly being a rich diamond heir to an Israeli businessman, Lev Leviev, carrying the family name, when in reality, he has no connection with the family. When he was questioned about why he catfished women, he denied the same and said that he was free to assume any identity. He added that he had never explicitly mentioned being Lev’s son and emphasised that it was people’s fault for assuming something so outrageous.
The real Lev Leviev has, however, not taken very kindly to these assumptions. He has filed a complaint against Simon for this falsified information to the Israeli police. The CEO of LLD Diamonds, also known as the “king of diamonds”, has sued Hayut for damaging the company’s reputation with his fraudulent activities while making it clear that he is not related to the family.
2. Simon Leviev loves faking his career
Simon loves faking identities and careers. Before he shocked the world with his Ponzi scheme by posing as a fake diamond heir, he had pretended to be a pilot despite never having any certification. Though he spent some money on flying lessons, he never completed the civilian flying course but that did not deter him from assuming the role of a pilot. He even got his classmate to invest in a clothing business idea that never materialised into anything.
After the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the con artist posed as a paramedic in December 2020 to receive an early dose of vaccination. During that period, only healthcare workers and people over 60 were entitled to receive vaccines and Leviev slyly tried to waltz his way into one of the categories. In 2021, Leviev pretended to be a real estate expert and even bagged interviews where he gave unsolicited advice on how to be successful n the field.
1. Scamming people has been his long-time career
Simon has been a popular fraudster for quite some time. In 2011, he was charged with multiple crimes related to theft and fraud in Israel. However, he did not show up to court and fled to Europe. In 2019, he was arrested for just five months for scamming the victims as seen in the documentary. Simon seems to be a globetrotting criminal as he was wanted in six nations, namely England, Norway, Israel, Denmark, Sweden and Germany.
However, his penchant for scamming people can be traced way back into his life when he began conning people at the age of 20 which saw him stealing checks from the families that employed him. These included a family with a four-year-old son who hired him as a babysitter and a family who knew him as a handyman. He reportedly used their money to buy a Porsche and spent some on flying lessons.