If it seems too good to be true, it is too good to be true. The delusion of “love” after only a couple of luxury dates is at the core of the blind allure of a windfall life of riches, jet-set luxury, lavish lifestyle, and financial security.
Like all Ponzi scams, getting-rich-quickly is the bait used to scam people, whether it’s investments or the possibility of finding love with a rich “prince”…but like the Tina Turner song, “what’s love got to do with it”.
It’s an outrageous over-the-top example of scamming, and one hopes this will give women pause before jumping into too-good-to-be-true scenarios, (especially off dating sites), and learning to head for the exit as soon as obvious red flags pop up.
The sad truth is it probably won’t make enough of a dent to prevent this type of thing from happening again…the desire for a rich lifestyle is always going to bait some people into bad scenarios via a denial – “it’s a tale as old as time”.
Now a wanted man in Israel, Sweden, England, Germany, Denmark, and Norway, Leviev whose real name is Shimon Hayut was finally caught by the police using a fake passport in Greece in July of 2019 and extradited to Israel after the wild events of Netflix’s documentary. At the time, he denied all charges against him. “I have the right to choose whatever name I want, I never presented myself as the son of anyone, but people use their imaginations,” he told Israel’s Channel 12 news. “Maybe their hearts were broken during the process…I never took a dime from them; these women enjoyed themselves in my company, they traveled and got to see the world on my dime,” he said.
In December of 2019, he was convicted of theft, fraud, and forgery of documents in Israel—charges from 2011, unrelated to his crimes across Europe—and sentenced to 15 months in prison. After serving five months of jail time, he was released on good behavior.
“How can you give trust to a man like that, who escaped from Israel twice? A man that deceived and swindled women in Europe for hundreds of thousands of euros. Where is the justice?” Pernilla Sjöholm told Israel’s Channel 12 news when the news of Simon’s release from prison broke. “Myself and some other women filed lawsuits against him with the European Court of Justice and submitted complaints against him with Interpol,” said a Finnish woman who wished to remain anonymous. “Private investigators and Interpol people are waiting for him to leave Israel to arrest him,” said another victim. “He ruined my life and shattered me emotionally and financially.”
Currently 31 years old, Simon Leviev lives as a free man in Israel, according to Instagram stories shown in The Tinder Swindler. His account is currently active, though he has nearly 166,000 followers.
Simon Leviev has not been charged for any crimes that may have occurred outside of Israel, including the conning of Cecilie Fjellhøy, Pernilla Sjöholm, or Ayleen Charlotte, who appear in Netflix’s doc. The Netflix documentary started playing on Netflix in February. According to The Times of Israel, he allegedly swindled an estimated $10 million dollars from victims across the continent from 2017-to 2019 alone. Cecilie, Pernilla, and Ayleen are still paying off their debts.