‘Tinder Swindler’ documentary on Israeli con man hits Netflix
True crime film about Shimon Hayut, who posed as son of Russian-Israeli diamond tycoon and conned Scandinavian women, arrives on streaming platform
Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.
Swipe right to choose the latest Netflix true crime documentary, “The Tinder Swindler,” about Israeli con man Shimon Hayut, who deceived and exploited women he met on the dating app.
The nearly two-hour documentary directed by Felicity Morris tells the story of several women whose hearts and wallets were pinched by Hayut, who presented himself as Simon Leviev, son of Israeli Russian diamond tycoon Lev Leviev.
Hayut, now known to be the son of El Al Airlines chief rabbi Yohanan Hayut, would meet Scandinavian women on Tinder, lead them to believe he was the son of the fabulously wealthy tycoon and begin long-distance relationships with them, eventually swindling them out of large sums of money.
Hayut posing as Leviev would first spend lavish amounts on the women, staying in five-star hotels and flying in private jets.
Within several weeks, he would ask to borrow money because of a dangerous situation he claimed to have found himself in, sending a photo of his shirt covered with blood and saying it was the result of an attack due to the dangerous world of diamond dealing.
The women believed him, given his previous spending, never doubting his story or background. Eventually, Hayut developed a Ponzi scheme in which he’d spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on each consecutive girlfriend, using the money he’d swindled from the previous woman.
As several of the women discovered Hayut’s deception, they brought their stories to investigative journalists, and Hayut was sentenced to two years in a Finnish prison.
The events of the film end prior to Hayut’s sentencing and trial, as he was returned to Israel in 2017 to be recharged and sentenced but assumed a different identity and fled the country.
Israel declared him a fugitive, and he was eventually extradited back to Israel in 2019, convicted and sentenced to 15 months in prison.
He was released for good behavior after five months in May 2020, reportedly under a program aimed at reducing the prison population amid fears of a coronavirus outbreak among inmates.
Hayut is currently living as a free man, still regularly posting on his Instagram account followed by more than 100,000 people, dressed in designer clothing, posing in posh surroundings and next to sports cars.