“Tinder Swindler” preys on Lev Leviev’s name
Con man in Netflix documentary pretending to be son of diamond, real estate mogul
When diamond-cutter-turned-real-estate-tycoon Lev Leviev cracked the De Beers diamond cartel in the early ’90s, it was “with the instincts of a tiger and the balls of a panther.”
But it was with the balls of a catfish that the swindling Shimon Hayut preyed on Leviev’s name — and on women he conned out of millions of dollars by pretending to be his son, Variety reported.
In the Netflix hit “Tinder Swindler,” several victims and a team of Norwegian journalists expose the charlatan of the titular dating app and document his shocking grift in dramatic, excruciating detail.
Hayut has since been banned from Tinder but still falsely identified as a Leviev scion on Instagram before his account was deactivated. He wined and dined his matches with lavish dates and luxury vacations — financed, of course, by previously duped women. The gist of his elaborate con: persuading them to open credit lines for him to use so his “enemies” cannot track him.
The romance scammer was sentenced to 15 months in prison in his home country of Israel in December 2019, but only served five. A year later, the Times of Israel reported that he pivoted from “diamond dynasty playboy” to “paramedic” to snag an early dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.
The man of many faces now has yet another: “real estate expert.” In November, Hayut doled out tips for aspiring agents in an interview with Vents Magazine. His advice? “Be honest, make connections and plan for the future.”
If chutzpah were cash, Hayut would be as rich as the Simon Leviev character he created.
“Tinder Swindler,” directed by Felicity Morris, is streaming on Netflix and was produced by the makers of the documentary “Don’t F*** with Cats,” another harrowing account of the fungible nature of internet identity.
Lev Leviev, father to nine children, none of whom he named Simon, has not commented on the situation, but the family company, LLD Diamonds, said its “sympathies go out to [Hayut]’s victims.”
[Variety] — Raji Pandya