Victims of Netflix doc’s alleged ‘Tinder Swindler’ have united for this reason: ‘A big f— you to him’
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Several victims of the alleged “Tinder Swindler” have banded together in hopes of finally moving on.
Cecilie Fjellhøy from Norway, Pernilla Sjöholm from Sweden and Ayleen Charlotte of Amsterdam have teamed up with Chagit Leviev, CEO of Leviev Diamonds, to launch a bracelet called “Stronger Together.”
The piece, designed by the women, features two golden rings and two diamonds interlocking. It retails for $169, and all profits will go to the women to recoup their financial losses. They will donate 10% of the profits to charity.
“I watched the [Netflix] documentary just like everyone else,” Leviev told Fox News Digital. Leviev noted it was she who reached out to the women about working together after watching the film.
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“One day, I woke up and suddenly found out that our family, our company, even our family photos were featured in this documentary without us being prepared for it,” Leviev said. “It was a real shock, but it was also really sad to see what these women went through and how this guy managed to manipulate them. He impersonated the CEO of this company. It was just so unfortunate, and we felt really sorry for these girls. But I also felt proud that they all came forward to talk about this in front of the whole world to try to fight this guy.
“We have been trying to fight him for years, and we couldn’t stop him,” she added. “We just didn’t know how to make him stop. The fact that his story finally came to light in this Netflix documentary only proved that he couldn’t get away with his lies. I felt these women did something so courageous in sharing their story, this humiliating experience. I wanted to support them. I thought we could create something together where they could benefit from the profits.”
Shimon Hayut has been accused of disguising himself as Simon Leviev, the globe-trotting son of Leviev’s father, Israel’s “King of Diamonds” Lev Leviev. Allegedly using that identity, he would charm women he found on the popular dating app with his affluent lifestyle.
Once a long-distance relationship was established, the 31-year-old would allegedly sway the women to give him up to thousands of dollars, insisting he was working in a dangerous business. But as he supposedly traveled for work, Hayut allegedly continued to live lavishly on his victims’ dime.
Fjellhøy, Sjöholm and Charlotte were just three of many women who claimed they were conned by Hayut. According to reports, Hayut allegedly swindled an estimated $10 million from people across the globe from 2017 to 2019.
A spokesperson for Hayut didn’t immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
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“I think it’s important to point out that he didn’t just defraud women,” Sjöholm explained. “A fraudster is going to take every opportunity out there, and it’s not only women. And people have felt ashamed about speaking up, so they get away with it. With fraud, the victims are usually blamed. Like, how could they do this to you?
“The misconception a lot of people still have is that we fell for his money,” Charlotte said. “The truth is, I thought I really had a connection with him. But a fraudster is like a chameleon. They change their colors. They change their personality with everyone they encounter. Everyone thinks we just fell in love with him and, within a few days, we were sending him money. But it’s not true. For example, in my case, I was already with him for seven months before he started to ask for money. People are calling us gold diggers, but I think I would be the worst gold digger in the world if I gave all my money!”
Hayut fled his home country in 2011 to avoid fraud-related offenses he committed in his early 20s, The Times of Israel reported. He ran off to Finland, where he was sentenced to two years in a Finnish prison in 2015 after being charged with defrauding three women. He returned to Israel in 2017, but then traveled to Europe a second time when he changed his name. According to the outlet, Leviev’s father filed a complaint against Hayut for “falsely presenting himself as his son.”
Hayut was a wanted man in several countries, including Israel, Sweden, England, Germany, Denmark and Norway, People magazine reported. Hayut was caught by police in Greece in 2019 after using a fraudulent passport. He was deported to Israel. Later that year, he was convicted of fraud, theft and forgery. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison but was released after five months on “good behavior.”
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After his release, Hayut was active on social media where he had over 200,000 followers on Instagram. At one point, he even had a website, on which he charged clients over $300 for business advice. Both pages have since been taken down. His Cameo page, on which he charges $99 for personalized videos, is still live. People magazine noted he was back on Tinder after his release.
He refused to participate in the film before it came out in February of this year. Over 50 million people streamed the documentary within weeks of its premiere. That same month, he was banned from the platform. Tinder also added new guidelines: “Romance Scams: How to Protect Yourself Online,” stressing to look out for scammers who will use the platform to prey on “vulnerable” people “looking for love.”
The documentary noted Leviev “has never been charged with defrauding” the women, and they were still paying off their debts. Fjellhøy, Sjöholm and Charlotte launched a GoFundMe fundraiser, stating on their page, “All we want are our lives back.”
Chagit previously told Forbes that, beginning in 2017, she and her family received numerous calls and emails from European vendors concerning unpaid charters for private planes, yachts and high-end car services. Hayut was due in an Israeli court on June 28 to face criminal charges brought against him by the Leviev family.
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“So many people kept calling us and saying, ‘Is this your brother?’” said Chagit. “Most people couldn’t understand that he was pretending to be a brother. They thought he was an actual family member. Our company became bombarded with attacks and bad reviews.
“People swore we hired Simon to make these fake checks and pay stubs. They felt that somehow we were involved. But we were frauded ourselves. … He was doing all of this without our knowledge. And it was just frustrating that people didn’t understand. Even now, people ask, ‘How’s your brother?’
“I’m hoping this collaboration will clear up a lot of that confusion,” she said. “He’s not a family member. He’s not involved with us.”
The women said that they’re still determined to rebuild their lives. They hope to have the courage to trust again.
“We’re still fighting,” said Fjellhøy. “We’re not giving up. But it’s been so difficult to get justice. … I felt alone in this. But after hearing these stories from other women, we’re relying on each other for inspiration. We’ve met with each other, and we’ve been supporting each other. There’s sadness in this situation, but it’s been nice to see something positive, this friendship blossom.”
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Hayut has vehemently denied all the allegations made against him.
After the documentary was released, he told Inside Edition he was “just a single guy that wanted to meet some girls on Tinder,” insisting that “I am not a Tinder Swindler.” He also told EW the Netflix film is “a complete made-up movie.”
Most recently, Hayut confirmed to Forbes that he legally changed his name to Simon Leviev in 2017. He also denied the allegations made by the Leviev family.
“First of all, let me start off that this is not a court case. It’s a show that will take place in court,” his statement said in part. “The Leviev family has filed this private complaint against me. Technically any person can do that without any evidence or solid proof. That is why they chose to do it this way and not to do it in the formal way that it should be, and it’s just for show that they’re doing something.
“I am innocent and will soon file lawsuits against the Leviev family, same as I filed lawsuits against the ladies back in 2019 … It’s a show, a publicity stunt. The Leviev family are not the law, they are lawbreakers.”
But for Charlotte, she said the message her bracelet represents is clear.
“It’s like a big f—- you to him,” she said. “It’s the perfect payback.”
Source: Fox News