An Israeli who was said to falsely present himself as the son of multi-millionaire Lev Leviev to defraud numerous women across Scandinavia, was reportedly arrested Friday in Greece during a joint operation between Interpol and Israel Police.
Presenting himself to women as Simon Leviev on dating app Tinder, the alleged fraudster Shimon Hayut defrauded women in Norway, Finland and Sweden out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to an investigative report by Norway’s Verdens Gang newspaper.
Hayut, of Bnei Brak in central Israel, apparently used a Ponzi scheme to fool his dates: using funds fraudulently obtained from other women, he’d invite them on private jet flights and take them to lavish hotels and dinners to sell his story. Then, citing security concerns related to his business competition, he’d ask them for financial favors he promised to pay back.
Hayut also used other people to make his claims more believable, and surrounded himself with a fake bodyguard, business partners and more.
He has been wanted in Israel on charges of theft, forgery and fraud since 2011, and is suspected of stealing one family’s checks while babysitting their child, and another’s while working as a handyman at their home.
According to Haaretz, Hayut used the stolen money to buy himself a fancy car and pilot’s lessons. There he defrauded another flight student into investing in a non-existent business deal.
He served three years in a Finnish prison for defrauding women there, but later resumed his activities.
He is also wanted in the UK on unspecified charges.
Lev Leviev has filed a complaint against Hayut with police for falsely presenting himself as his son.
Leviev is a billionaire, known in Israel as “the king of diamonds,” who has lately found his empire in jeopardy after close associates were busted in a massive smuggling ring and an employee mysteriously plummeted to her death from his high-rise Tel Aviv office building.