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The Tinder Swindler (2022) | Transcript

Posing as a wealthy, jet-setting diamond mogul, he wooed women online, then conned them out of millions of dollars. Now some victims plan for payback.

The Tinder Swindler is a British true crime documentary film directed by Felicity Morris and released to streaming on Netflix on 2 February 2022. The documentary tells the story of the Israeli conman Simon Leviev (born Shimon Hayut) who used the dating application Tinder to connect with individuals who he then emotionally manipulated into financially supporting his lavish lifestyle on the pretext he needed the money to escape his “enemies”.

An Israeli man, born Shimon Hayut, travelled around Europe, presenting himself as the son of Russian-Israeli diamond mogul Lev Leviev. He used the dating app Tinder to contact women as Simon Leviev, and tricked them into lending him money that he would never repay. He would charm women with lavish gifts and take them to dinners on private jets using money he borrowed from other women he had previously conned. He would later pretend he was being targeted by his “enemies”, often sending the same messages and images to each woman, indicating that he had just been attacked with a knife, but that his bodyguard had saved him and was hurt. He then asked his victims to help him financially due to the breach of ‘security’, supposedly hindering his use of his credit cards and bank accounts; the women would often take out bank loans and new credit cards in order to help. He would then use the money gained through the deception to lure new victims, while essentially operating a Ponzi scheme. Later, he would pretend to repay his victims by sending forged documents showing fake bank transfers and then break off contact with the victims. Sometimes he would go as far as threaten them and use manipulation to get more money from his victims. It is estimated that he swindled $10 million from people across the world.

* * *

[ethereal music playing]

[woman] I think everyone would love to just meet someone in a bar or in a grocery store.

But nowadays, the best way you can meet someone is on a dating app.

[chimes]

You can find a bit of everything on Tinder.

[up-tempo music playing]

There are people looking for long-term relationships or marriage.

People who just want to hook up.

Anything.

You can pick guys from all over the world.

It’s a lot of men.

We are all looking for that diamond in the rough.

[chimes]

And of course, you Google everyone that you’re supposed to go on a date with.

Well, this is gonna be fun. Let’s swipe right on that.

[uplifting music playing]

Private jets, cool cars, amazing parties all over the world.

What happened to me felt like a movie.

But in the movies, there’s always bad guys.

[dramatic music playing]

I get these threatening messages.

[incoming message tone]

These enemies were watching me, my family.

[crying] It’s just been fucking hell.

[woman 2] I’m shit scared.

Are they coming now? Did we lock the door?

[car engine revving]

I don’t think I ever will be the same again.

[car engine revving]

[woman] One little swipe can change your life forever.

[app chimes]

[sighs]

I think the… I think life is about love, ’cause the most happiest times I’ve had is when I’ve been in love.

[romantic music playing]

That’s what’s most amazing about love, no matter how many heartbreaks you’ve had, you still go after it.

I love dating.

[phone chimes]

The moment I get nervous, then I know that there’s something special here.

And I love being nervous. That’s the thing. [chuckles]

I’m after that all-consuming, the kind of…

What you’ve grown up with.

The first memories that I have about love is Disney.

I had memorized the entire Beauty and the Beast cassette.

I knew all the songs.

I just love Belle.

She is this small-town girl like me, hoping for something bigger.

She meets this person, and then she saves him in a sense, or he saves her as well. Like, to go into a different life together.

It just sticks with you, like, the feeling of a prince coming to save you.

And I think that even though you know it’s not real, it’s still with you a bit.

I think everyone has that little bit of hope deep down inside

it will be as magical as they were portraying it to be.

[chimes]

But finding Prince Charming in real life…

It’s a lot of work.

[uplifting music playing]

I’ve been on Tinder for seven years.

I’m from Norway, but live in London. So I’ve been on Tinder in two countries.

[interviewer] How many matches have you had?

[sputters]

Do you really want to see?

[interviewer] Can we see?

Yeah.

[interviewer] 1,024 matches.

Yeah, I’m a bit of a Tinder expert. You can say that. [laughs]

The most important thing that you can have is a picture of your face, then you have a picture with friends.

It’s important to show that you’re social as well.

Feel my profile showing I’m not in the hook-up culture.

Like, I’m after long-term love.

For me to swipe right on a guy, it needs to be that we have some similar interests in the pictures I’m looking at.

Maybe like a nice dinner somewhere, or that you like the beach, ’cause I love a beach.

Oh my God. Um, animals.

A handsome man with a cat? Like, it can’t go wrong.

[chimes]

And you want a guy that has ambition.

It’s like Marilyn Monroe in the movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

And then she has this quote where she says…

Don’t you know that a man being rich is like a girl being pretty?

You might not marry a girl just because she’s pretty, but my goodness, doesn’t it help?

It is a very true quote. Like, you want the full package.

But it’s not easy to find what you’re looking for.

It’s a lot of swiping. Back and forth, back and forth.

[thrilling music playing]

When I saw Simon’s pictures, he had the kind of look that I like.

He was dressed very stylish. I love a guy in a suit, and he had several of those.

And he had his link to his Instagram.

You always check the Insta.

He had so many pictures and so many followers.

Business meetings, parties, beaches.

This guy is just having a very different life than I ever will experience.

And I was just thinking that it would be kind of cool just to meet up.

I decide to swipe right.

[chimes]

[chimes]

And then he just responds fairly quickly.

“I’m leaving London tomorrow. Do you want to meet up?”

When we text on WhatsApp, he asked me to meet him at the hotel that he was staying at, the Four Seasons…

[incoming message tone]

…and he just sent the Google Maps link, so I could know where I was gonna go.

This was just going to be, like, an hour-long coffee, ’cause I could just sense that this guy was a busy guy.

[uplifting music playing]

When I walk into this really fancy hotel, I feel out of place.

I think I’m a bit early. So I just decide to sit down and wait.

You know, you’re nervous.

When the elevator door finally pings…

[elevator dings]

I was like, “Shit.”

[uplifting music playing]

He looks exactly like his pictures.

He has this magnetism.

There’s something about this guy that is special.

One of the first topics we talked about was his job.

He’s the CEO of LLD Diamonds.

He got the job from his dad.

When he mentioned that his dad was the king of diamonds, so that meant that he was the prince of diamonds,

I realized, like, “My God, what kind of family is this?”

Very quickly, he’d become very personal. And that’s what I really liked about it.

He has a baby daughter that turns two in a couple of weeks.

She’s there now to visit him in London, but he’s not together with the mom anymore.

He’s rarely in one place for a very long period of time, and he just missed having someone, you know.

When we were nearing the end of the date, he said, “I really want to get to know you better.”

They were traveling to Bulgaria for a business trip, and then he was asking me if I wanted to join them.

We’re traveling by private jet.

“Shit. Ooh, this is something new that I’ve never done before.”

I felt that I would be stupid if I said no.

So I was kind of, like, super excited on the inside, but on the outside, I kept it very cool, because I was just thinking,

“Okay, you like this guy, you just need to keep your cool now.”

[thrilling music playing]

Simon asked one of his drivers to take me back home, so I could pack some stuff, get my passport, then they will drive me back.

Suddenly, there’s this Rolls-Royce waiting for me.

So I was kind of like, “My God. This is insane.”

It felt like being in a movie.

[announcer] Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer presents an exciting, extravagant, romantic adventure.

The Yellow Rolls-Royce.

I can be quick when I pack.

[thrilling music continues]

I have a messenger group with my girlfriends.

My friends are freaking out.

“Who is this guy? How do you know him? You can be abducted.”

I was like, “Oh, I didn’t even think about that. I’m on a date, you know.”

[thrilling music ends]

[indistinct chatter]

At the airport, there is the entire team waiting for us.

A really tall guy, which I presume is the bodyguard.

There’s a couple of drivers, and you have his little daughter.

I see this woman that’s with Simon’s daughter.

Simon tells me that that’s the baby’s mother and that they’re going to be on the plane with us.

His ex is joining us on our first date together, and I’m kind of like, “Well, this can be interesting.”

[exciting music playing]

[Simon] Morning. How are you? Ah, good. Morning.

[interviewer] Did you take videos on the plane? Show me?

[laughs] Yes. It’s like the worst person.

That’s what one of my friends would say.

“Can you stop being so awkward?” But I was very excited about it, you know.

It was champagne with caviar. I’ve never eaten caviar before.

And then it was sushi. And it was like it was a totally different world.

If I like someone, I’ll give them a little kiss on the cheek.

It was quick, but it just felt very natural.

When we landed, me and the baby’s mother and the baby, we went into a car.

Of course, I take the opportunity to ask some questions.

She tells me what a wonderful father he is, that he’s still supporting them even though they’re not together anymore, which was really, really nice to hear.

[romantic music playing]

When we go to the hotel, we check in, and when we’re walking into the elevator together, exactly when the door closes, he takes me around the waist and he just looks at me and he draws me in and just gives me this kiss, and I was like, “Oh, shit,” you know, the kind of butterflies…

It was passionate, and was just the perfect first kiss that you could have, you know.

[romantic music continues]

[indistinct chatter on TV]

[interviewer] You sleep together?

We sleep together.

And then, later on, I could see that he has some marks on his back.

I was just wondering, like, what is this? Where, like, I was touching it.

And then he was kind of like, “Oh, well…”

He didn’t exactly know how to say it, but it was, like, he had been in jail in South Africa. And I was like, “What?”

Just trust me once more.

Why should I?

He had a deal going on there, and they had turned their backs against him and betrayed him.

So he had gone in prison on false pretenses.

He was innocent.

He had been manhandled in prison because he was Jewish.

Here was this guy I thought had everything going for him sitting on the bed with me, being really vulnerable.

Just give me the stamps.

Oh. Oh, I love you, Adam, Alex, Peter…

[Cecilie] Here’s this kind of person that you want to save, especially ’cause he has so much responsibility on his back.

Everyone is relying on him.

Even though things had gone very quickly with us, but when I sit there and I feel an emotional connection with someone and they’re opening up, that’s just how I am as a person.

[phone ringing]

He starts getting a lot of calls, and, in the end, he just says, “We’re so busy. I think it’s best if you just go back home.”

[continues ringing]

I was a bit disappointed, actually. I was kind of like…

I wanted to spend more time with him.

[indistinct announcement on PA]

When I came back to London, I thought the conversation would die out.

I didn’t expect anything.

[rain pattering]

I felt like I knew him more, but I didn’t really “know him” know him.

Like, how special was I? I felt special, but, like, when he leaves, you never know.

I was hoping. I was really hoping that he was gonna come back.

[pensive music playing]

[uplifting music playing]

But then kept going with, like, good morning messages to each other and good night messages, and FaceTime.

He was, like, tagging me where he was going.

When I was at work, you could hear the pinging in your phone, and it was, like, “I hope that it’s him.”

He just suddenly asked me, “So what’s your address?”

Never, ever received a bouquet like that.

[keypad tones]

[Simon] Miss you. Wanna spend some time together… Kiss you, hug you.

Feel like we have something special, and he says so to me.

So I’m kind of like, “Oh, shit. Is this it?”

[chimes]

Ah, it was so nice seeing him again.

I can’t even describe to someone. Like, when you really want to see someone.

Just feeling that you’re his girl is like the best feeling.

But then it was difficult to meet up with him. He was traveling a lot for business.

I was going home to Oslo and I was thinking, “Well, you can come to Oslo!”

And that was one of the things he said, “But, babe, I don’t have anything to do in Oslo. There’s no business,” and I was missing him so much, I was like, “I’m never gonna be able to see you.”

[upbeat music playing]

You’re kidding me.

You’re such a busy guy, and you decide to take a private jet and land at like 3:00 a.m. to come and see me.

So I go to his hotel. I bought him, like, a Valentine’s present.

It was a book about having a relationship with a Norwegian.

And then I had made, like, ten things about him that makes him wonderful, which I’d written myself.

And then he just asked me, “I am serious about you. Do you want to be my girlfriend?”

And I’m kind of like, “Oh, shit.” The kind of words that you wanted to hear.

Yeah. And then we were together.

That’s when he said there was something he wants to tell me if we’re gonna be together.

It was better to be open and honest about how his life was than to keep it hidden.

[tense music playing]

He was just talking about this big deal that he needed to get done, and the deal was worth $70 million, but the diamond industry is a dangerous business.

He had these threats surrounding his security.

He had a security team in Israel. Peter was like the head of it.

Threats had gotten worse.

He showed me pictures of, like, they had gotten bullets in the mail.

Funeral flowers had been sent.

He had CCTV of an apartment in Tel Aviv.

He had a break-in there.

The security team told him that he wasn’t safe in London anymore, and for time being he needed to stay away.

[tense music continues]

Of course, I get super scared for him.

I could just see that it was straining on him.

He just wanted my understanding that things were gonna be fine, and we were going to be together.

And I was like, “Okay. I’ll be here for you.”

[faint traffic]

When I got back home, one of my friends Googled the Leviev family.

She says this is one of the most powerful families.

They’ve become big for a reason.

Need to be realistic about what he’s involved in.

I hadn’t seen him in a while. And of course it made you a bit scared.

So I check his Tinder to see where he is.

I see that he’s in a different country.

And I also see a couple of his pictures had changed.

My heart just sank, you know, ’cause that means that he’s been active.

So what’s going on?

[tense music playing]

[Simon] I’m not using Tinder anymore. I deleted the app. I deleted the account.

He tells me that we’re a team and we’re together and that I have nothing to worry about.

There’s no one else. Only me.

[Simon] I care about you. I miss you. And everything will be all right, baby.

[up-tempo music playing]

I was sitting by my phone, swiping, swiping.

[interviewer] What kind of guy were you hoping for?

An ideal guy. A smart one. And funny. And very impulsive.

I’m a very independent woman. I always have been.

I’ve done that since the age of 16, so I don’t need a man to take care of me, but I would appreciate to have a man to share my life.

My Tinder profile was a mix.

It had some pictures with me dressed for work, traveling, because I still wanted to attract this person that was living the same life as I did.

So I was swiping. And then this guy comes up.

[thrilling music playing]

This is someone who is well-traveled.

And still works very hard.

So I thought, “Oh, great. Let’s swipe right on that.”

[chimes]

I got a match.

He was here in Stockholm for business, but it said he was living in Amsterdam.

He texts me and asks me if I want to come visit.

[chimes]

[Simon] There is a flight tomorrow at nine o’clock in the morning from Stockholm to Amsterdam.

So tell me if it’s all right for you.

He asked about my passport details, booked my flight ticket, which I thought was a nice gesture.

I get this confirmation from Simon Leviev at LLD Diamonds.

Of course, I started to Google, because you always Google everyone you’re supposed to go on a date with.

His father is this diamond tycoon, and I’m just thinking, “Oh my God, another diamond guy.”

[laughs]

Um…

[interviewer] Another diamond guy?

Yeah.

I used to date a guy that was in the diamond industry.

Okay, maybe second time around.

[uplifting music playing]

I take a car to his house, which is in this lovely, lovely neighborhood.

He comes and opens up the door.

He dresses very elegantly.

“A little bit short for my taste,” was the first thing I was thinking, but he’s really easy to talk to.

It’s quite rare that you meet someone and you have this instant connection.

After we spent an hour together, we felt like we had known each other for ten years or something.

We go for lunch, the entire staff welcomes us.

They bring a special order of caviar that the restaurant uses just for Simon.

I don’t think the food ever stopped coming in.

He really asked a lot of questions, really wanted to listen, which I really appreciated.

‘Cause it’s quite rare to have men listen sometimes.

Afterwards, we had a nice, long walk around Amsterdam. I see a diamond museum.

I love museums, and if you should go to a diamond museum, you should go with someone in the business.

He knows all about the mines, how to cut them, where you get the best diamonds.

He knows everything.

After that, he makes this little bit of a move on me.

But it just doesn’t feel right.

He’s like, “No, maybe no. Just… Better just stay friends.”

“Yeah, maybe you’re right.” [laughs]

Even though there wasn’t a romantic energy between us, I really enjoyed myself.

[keypad tones]

I actually missed him after just a day or two, because we did have a lot of fun.

[incoming message alert]

[phone ringing]

We were talking and calling and texting.

When he’s out to dinner, he sends me a picture, and we used voice notes.

[Simon] Beautiful looking. Beautiful, Pernilla.

Happy to see you tomorrow.

You can be two different types of personalities sometimes.

So either you can be a battery charger or a battery drainer.

[Simon] Work hard, play hard.

And he was definitely my battery charger.

[Simon] Amazing. Amazing. Beautiful dress.

Once, I remember, like, he flew over just to have a coffee with me one day because I was having a bad day.

[Simon] Pernilla, about 10 o’clock we’re going for a drink.

Then, 12:30, we’re going to the club.

[Pernilla] Can’t wait to see you later!

I gave him a little bit of a prince emoji next to his name, because that’s how he’s behaving sometimes.

And I always make a joke about this.

Really felt like we had a special connection.

[pensive music playing]

[Simon] I can’t wait to see you.

I love you with all my heart. I miss you so much.

[Cecilie] Simon was away a lot on business.

We’d talk and text every single day.

Your girl is finally done with yoga for the night.

And she’s at home making some delicious salmon.

I felt special.

It was just amazing.

And then, he asked me.

[thrilling music playing]

[keypad tones]

It’s just the best feeling, you know, when you have someone and both are on the same wavelength.

Time for apartment number two.

Living room where we can watch movies and stuff.

I was dreaming of how it would be for the two of us to live together.

And then you have this awesome kitchen.

And here is the bedroom.

Simon tells me that the budget is $15,000 per month.

Third apartment.

So I’m going all the rounds in these amazing apartments.

And sometimes I even have Simon with me on FaceTime.

It was just a really nice way to connect with him, even though he wasn’t there, to do it together.

The view is out to the Piazza at Covent Garden.

[thrilling music continues]

Cecilie, my love, I love you, I miss you. I can’t wait to see you.

[thrilling music ends]

[chimes]

[phone vibrating]

In the middle of the night, I get a picture of Peter, Simon’s bodyguard.

Simon is writing “Peter hurt,” and I’m like, “What the fuck?”

Well, this is the night.

[woman] Can you write your first name? Or I can write it, of course.

We’re in an ambulance.

[woman] Can you write that?

He just says that, “They were going after me. Thank God for Peter.”

“If not, I would be dead.”

[Simon] It’s okay, love. It’s okay.

I told you, we’re in a war. We need to be strong.

I didn’t know what to do. And he just says, “We’re safe now.”

“We’re being taken care of. You just need to sleep.”

The next morning, Simon sends me a voice note.

[Simon] Because of the situation, with the security and everything, they told me I’m not allowed to use my credit card.

He can’t use his cards anymore because the security team has said his enemies are tracing his spending and where he is based on his credit card use.

[Simon] I wanted to ask you a favor.

If you have an American Express credit card, I can link it to my account.

He was just wondering if he could use my cards for some time.

It would just help him a lot.

[Simon] It’s just temporary, like, for, uh, two weeks or something.

[Cecilie] I’m his girlfriend.

Of course he would ask me. Like, you trust me and I trust you, so of course we’re gonna help each other. It wasn’t even a question.

The Platinum Amex is in my name, and he starts using it as he said he would, but he maxes out quite quickly.

So he makes payment directly to Amex, and I get the receipt from him, and he says that the money is on the way, but in the meantime, he wants me to come to Amsterdam and bring some cash to him. $25,000.

How on Earth am I going to get that amount of cash?

I took out a loan, which I then took out in cash.

I was super scared having that amount of cash in my bag.

[tense music playing]

Especially when we went through security.

I was super stressed.

How was I gonna explain the money if I got any questions about it?

The moment I’m with him, I feel safe. My biggest issue was being apart from him.

He was really grateful.

He told me that everything I was doing is keeping him safe.

[chimes]

But within hours, the security team said there was a problem.

He deletes his Instagram because of security measures, and then he asked me to make my account private.

Take it all away.

He says that they can come and get me through him.

Of course, I get paranoid. What the fuck is going on?

[ringing]

Later on, Simon gets a call.

He puts Peter on the speakerphone, and he says, “Simon, there’s been a security breach. They know where you are.”

“The plane is ready to leave. I can’t tell you where you’re going.”

Peter is asking if he can please turn off the lights in the apartment.

I’m shit scared. Are they coming now? Did we lock the door?

[indistinct conversation on phone]

[voice breaking] Just seeing someone that you care so much for in danger, and, like, you can see that he was not doing well mentally.

I could see that he was struggling so much.

And in the end, he just told me that he had to go.

When he lands, he sends me the geotag. He’s landed in Stockholm.

He is here. Very spontaneous.

So I ask him…

[electronic music playing]

The club is basically an ocean with women, or as I call them, champagne girls.

They are basically like flies.

Like, you put out a rotten banana, and they just attack, but these girls do the same thing when they see a bottle of champagne.

And Simon is of course paying for this entire circus.

He’s paying with cash and just making sure that everyone is having a good time.

All of them are quite drunk, especially Simon’s bodyguard, Peter.

This is not an environment that I want to be in.

So I just stay for 10, 15 minutes and then just say, “Let’s talk tomorrow and enjoy your night and have fun.”

[electronic music continues]

The morning after, I text him and ask how the hangover is and maybe if he needs a cup of coffee, we should go for one, and then he texts me back.

He’s already in Spain.

[seagulls calling]

[incoming message tone]

The Amex card is in my name.

[line ringing]

[automated voice] Welcome to American Express.

So I had to pretend that I was the one traveling around, you know.

I understand your card isn’t working.

I’ll connect you with someone who can assist. Say or enter…

I needed to know exactly the amount that he was spending, which hotel he was in, so they would believe that I was the one using the card.

[Simon] We need to go. We need to travel.

It’s making things very complicated, honey.

[ringing]

Couple of hours later he would call again, and it’s blocked again.

[automated voice] Welcome to American Express.

[Cecilie] Then I need to call Amex, and Simon had already told me that this would happen, that it would be something that I would need to do at the start to call them and fix this.

The other problem was that the credit limit wasn’t enough.

[ringing]

We had to get it up so he could spend it, ’cause he had an entire team, you know.

So I was like, “Okay, but how are you going to do that?”

He said, “Well, I can employ you.”

[somber music playing]

He then calls someone in LLD Diamonds and asks for my passport details, so I can be put into the employment registry.

I just tried to say, “Well, I am not really working there.”

He’s like, “Well, you are. I’m the CEO. If they call, you are employed.”

[Simon] I would never ask you for anything if it was not serious shit.

All these security issues, you’ve always been there for me, so thank you, my love.

We were in a crisis at this point. Like, what else are we gonna do?

So then I got employed. I got pay slips.

[interviewer] How much?

Earning so much.

I think it was, like, $94,000 per month.

I send this over to prove that I earn much more.

That makes them raise the credit limit like this.

Of course, you are a bit worried, but he sends me a receipt from Credit Suisse where he’s making a transfer directly to me.

It’s for $250,000.

It’s more than enough to pay for the amount that he was spending.

[classical music playing]

[Pernilla] Mykonos is like a perfect playground.

You will see a lot of yachts, a lot of celebrities, a lot of models.

You pack all your bikinis, definitely, for the daytime parties as well.

[phone ringing]

I am on the phone with Simon, and he tells me he has just met his new girlfriend.

Polina.

[classical music continues]

[choral music playing]

I tell him they should meet us in Mykonos, and he does.

[choral music continues playing]

[Cecilie] I was going to Oslo. To see my friends, see my family.

And I really wanted to introduce him.

I’m just waiting for him. He said he was gonna come the next day.

[Pernilla] I meet Polina for the first time.

She’s this typical, like, Russian model. Quite young. But she’s very down to earth.

And I really liked her.

He seems very smitten over her. They seemed like a good match.

[phone ringing]

[Simon] Look, I cannot come right now. I cannot.

[Cecilie] The security team had told him, “You need to stay away.”

I felt deeply disappointed.

But what’s most important is actually to keep him safe.

[Pernilla] Of course he had booked the grand suite,

with own private pool.

It’s about $5,000 a night, this room. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

[Simon] I know you hate to ring up the bank,

but sometimes it is necessary.

I need to book some tickets for the rest of the team.

[Cecilie] Suddenly need to get so much money for this entire team

that is traveling business class, that is having expensive dinners.

Like, they’re going out with clients, and the spend is to another level

that you have never, ever seen before.

[Simon] This is what I do all the time. Just meetings and more meetings.

[choral music playing]

$20,000 is a lot of money, and that was spent in three days.

[waves lapping, seagulls calling]

Simon asks, “Where should we go now?”

[choral music playing]

We decide to go to Bonbonniere, also known as the billionaire’s club.

You don’t get in here without paying for a table,

which is normally $2,000.

For people here, this is peanuts for them. This is coffee money.

[Cecilie] He maxes out the credit card again.

So he told me to get more loans.

[Simon] Don’t worry, I will finish this deal.

Champagne’s on me.

[Pernilla] Simon orders in a couple of bottles of champagne.

Before we even have time to try and chip in,

he has already paid for the bill.

Simon is very generous.

[choral music continues]

I take out a loan for $40,000.

[Pernilla] Simon and Polina were continuing their little summer tour.

[Simon] I tried to do, like, another transaction,

and it didn’t go through.

Every second or third day is a new request.

France, and then they were going Vienna. They were going Switzerland.

[Simon] Almost there. I’m 97% done with the deals.

Each time he maxes out the card, I have to take out a new loan.

$50,000 Instabank. $12,500 DNB. $10,000 for a credit card.

[Pernilla] “Let’s meet up in Rome. We need to go and see the Coliseum.”

[Simon] Hello.

[high-pitched] Hello.

[Pernilla] This amazing Rolls-Royce Phantom

is taking us around all the famous sites,

like the Spanish Stairs, the Coliseum,

the Trevi Fountain to throw a few pennies.

I definitely need some more luck in my life. Let’s see if this can sort it out.

[Simon, gruffly] Check what is going on with the card.

Now. It’s important.

Money he had promised me still hasn’t come into my account.

[Simon] I’ve already done it so it doesn’t matter right now.

We need a solution right now for the current situation.

It’s kind of like a pressure that I have never experienced before

to have someone’s life depending on what you’re doing.

[Simon] You know, I’m facing security threats

with people trying to kill me.

If he couldn’t use the card, if something went wrong, he could be in danger.

And if I didn’t help him, what might happen?

Morning.

The things you’re doing for me, the things we’re going through together,

it’s for life.

This is what is making me see that you are the one.

$20,000, Monobank. $15,000, Nordea.

[Pernilla] We all give each other a big hug

and say that we should meet again soon,

after just like an amazing summer, really.

[choral music ends]

[interviewer] How much had you taken?

$250,000. That’s not what I signed up for.

[interviewer] A lot.

It is a lot of money.

[sniffles]

[incoming message tone]

[Simon] I know you have done, uh, too much,

for me, for us, for everything.

I know you’re tired and you want to be together,

which, of course, I do want as well.

I understand. Everything will be all right.

I was getting so tired and annoyed and I just needed some kind of money.

That’s when he says, “You can come to Amsterdam and I can give you a check.”

[somber classical music playing]

He seemed colder. Wasn’t the same kind of affection.

There was almost a cloud across his eyes that I couldn’t pierce through.

When we get into the apartment, the check is already there.

The check is worth much more than the debt I have now.

We’re trying to be together. But I can just feel a distance.

It wasn’t a good night.

[tense music playing]

The first thing I do when I come back from Amsterdam is cash this check.

I really needed that check to go through.

I had eight, nine creditors, you know.

That’s a lot of emails coming down on you at the same time.

I check my bank account every single day.

When four days have passed, I just know that I need to call the bank.

[line ringing]

[woman] How can I help you today?

She says, “We won’t cash it.”

[woman continues indistinctly]

And she couldn’t tell me why.

And that’s when I was just standing on the phone, like,

feeling that I had hard to breathe.

[line ringing]

[Simon] Cecilie, I don’t understand. We have…

I was asking about the check, like, “It didn’t work.”

He says, “Well, fuck it. I gave you the money, so…”

“I did my deal.”

[Simon, irately] I already done it.

[Cecilie] Never hear him so cold in my life.

It was like that person on the phone was no longer my boyfriend.

Was no longer my boyfriend.

I… It was just a, uh… just a darkness.

[somber music playing]

I know I was in deep shit.

Like, what do you do when you have nine creditors on you?

I called the Amex helpline.

[line ringing]

They can hear how stressed I am.

They just said, “Stay put. We will come to you.”

[doorbell ringing]

I was shit scared they were gonna come and handcuff me

and take me away.

The documents that I sent over.

The lies I told on the phone.

I gave him my card.

I tell them everything.

They said, “Do you have a picture of him?”

That moment when they look at each other and they say that’s the guy.

Fuck. Shit. You know?

“What kind of name did he use?” And then I said Simon Leviev.

And they said, “Well, that’s one of many names that he’s been using.”

“Many names”?

Who is this guy I’ve been sharing the same bed with?

“He’s a professional. He does this for a living.”

Everything’s a lie.

He’s not a prince of diamonds. He’s not the son of a billionaire.

The man I loved was never real.

He faked everything.

[crying] It was horrible, you know.

‘Cause I still…

[breath shuddering]

In a sense, I still loved him, you know?

Or the person I thought that he was. Like, you know everything is a lie,

but then you still have this fairy tale that’s going on, on your phone.

Simon, with still the heart behind it, ’cause I couldn’t remove it.

‘Cause I still wanted him to be true.

I don’t understand how someone can be so fucking evil.

I felt that he knew me.

[sniffles]

The minute they’re gone, I want to speak to my mom.

[line ringing]

She just told me, “You need to get back home to Norway.”

“I need you to be with me.”

I was going through the messages in the text.

I was still asking, “When are we going to fix the money?”

The last messages between the two of us is like, “I’m working on it.”

And then I blocked him.

There was nothing else to say.

[phone ringing]

That’s when I remember he has my mom’s number.

[answering machine beeps]

[Simon] Hey, you blocked me, I don’t know what is your reason.

I’m trying to reach you. You don’t want to talk anyway.

I want to tell you something. Take my advice.

Just watch out.

Because with every action there will be a reaction.

[hangs up]

[beeping]

[Cecilie] I got super scared.

But my mom got even more scared.

[keypad tones]

[woman answers in Norwegian]

We call the police in Norway, because he knows everything about me.

He has all my passport details, where I was living, where my mom is living.

He’s spoken to her on the phone. He knows where I am.

But the police didn’t seem to care.

I don’t know what he is capable of.

[rain pattering]

[somber music playing]

I’ve been on the edge for several days.

I had all these creditors. I had to let them know, each one of them.

It wasn’t just two banks. There were, like, nine of them.

For this kind of loan, the interest is so high, that they would just eat me alive.

I felt that I was just drowning.

It was like someone was just dragging me to the bottom.

[somber music continues]

I was driving down this road, and I saw a trailer coming towards me,

and I was thinking…

[crying] “What if I just take the car over,” you know?

And just hit… just hit the trailer, you know? [sobs]

Then at least it’s done, you know? And that’s when I got scared.

That’s when I got really scared.

I put myself into a psychiatric ward because I didn’t know what to do.

[somber music continues playing]

[phone chimes repeatedly]

[Pernilla] I was at home, and I could see the phone started flashing.

I see it’s Simon, and he has sent me news articles.

[tense music playing]

Simon’s father is gonna be questioned by the police

in a big diamond smuggling case.

Members of Simon’s family have gotten arrested. Russia is involved.

[line ringing]

I give him a call.

That sounds really scary…

He sounds all over the place.

He says police went in. They have shut down all accounts, all credit cards.

One girl in the office literally jumped from the building and killed herself.

But Simon says he doesn’t believe that this lady jumped off a building.

He believes that someone went in and threw her out.

[Simon] We don’t have the options, you know, the…

And I’m getting so scared. I’m like, “What is really going on?”

And he says that the security situation right now is really bad.

[Simon] I have the worst night in my life.

[phone chimes]

A few days later, I can feel my phone buzzing.

Simon is sending a lot of messages.

Oh, my God, what happened last night?

[Simon] Someone tried to stab me, and

so Peter broke his hand.

[Pernilla] Jesus. What do you mean tried to stab you?

What is going on?

Simon said, “This is my enemies behind this.”

He was really concerned that someone was after him.

[phone chimes]

And then I get a voice note from him.

[Simon] I want to ask you, uh, a favor.

“Pernilla, I am really embarrassed to even ask you.”

“Would it be possible for me to borrow $30,000?”

[tense music playing]

It would be a huge, huge, huge, huge, huge, huge help.

Please let me know if you can do something. Thank you so much.

I didn’t have $30,000 to spare.

I’d been at my mom’s now for three months.

I had my savings

that was gonna go to buy myself a new apartment where I’m supposed to live.

But, what is more important,

my friend’s security situation or me buying an apartment?

[tense music playing]

[Simon] Thank you for everything you’ve done…

[Pernilla] And I make a bank transfer while I’m on the phone with him.

He’s really grateful to have such a good friend as me that he really can trust.

[melancholy music playing]

[Cecilie] I was laying in bed at the psychiatric ward, on my phone,

going through more details with the people that I had met.

I knew that Simon was lying. But what about the others?

Peter, the bodyguard.

If it wasn’t real, then did he lie to me as well?

Who is the woman with the kid?

Was that Simon’s daughter?

I write a message to Amex.

Can you give me some more information?

They tell me to Google Shimon Hayut and that I will find some answers.

There’s an article in Finnish.

So I go into Google Translate.

Israeli multi-millionaire that cheated on women.

What the fuck?

[tense music playing]

Back in 2015, he had been defrauding three Finnish women.

They don’t give names. They are protected.

He was saying that he was in the weapons industry to one of the women.

To another woman, he said he was a Mossad agent.

That’s insane. He goes to prison. He becomes even worse.

They let out a guy that has almost been, like, cooking up a new plan.

You knew he would just continue, continue, continue.

Who’s gonna stop him?

I had to stop him.

I needed to go to the biggest newspaper in Norway, VG.

I was just praying, you know, that they would take this on.

[dramatic music playing]

[journalist] This was really like an unbelievable story.

A guy who had pretended to be a son of a diamond billionaire.

Private jets, a luxury lifestyle. It, uh, sounds almost like a fairy tale or movie.

[journalist 2] First thing you ask as a journalist is

what kind of documentation can you share with us?

You can’t print it without documentation.

[Cecilie] Of course, I have WhatsApp.

I then imagine strangers reading through my inner thoughts, my fears,

my love for this guy, you know?

It’s super private. It’s selfies in bed.

But the evidence came first, and I just sent it over.

[Natalie] It was almost 400 pages of text.

[Erlend] There’s video.

[Natalie] Pictures.

[Simon] Okay, baby. I’m taking off now.

[Natalie] Audio messages.

[Erlend] It’s astounding.

It’s like looking into the anatomy of the relationship.

We can follow how this developed minute by minute.

[dramatic music playing]

[Kristoffer] He’s extremely professional in what he does.

[Natalie] The first date was a good way

to lure her to believe that he was really successful.

This is an emotional con.

He was promising so much…

an apartment together,

vacations,

building a family together.

[Simon] I wanted to ask you a favor.

[Natalie] The first request for money

comes after they’ve been dating for over a month.

And he has been using that month to make her fall in love with him,

prove that he is really rich, and make her afraid of his enemies.

There’s no reason to believe that Simon is not able to pay her back,

because she has seen how wealthy he is.

[Natalie] Simon is surrounded by a lot of people,

especially his bodyguard and his business partner.

We don’t know who is working with Simon and how far this conspiracy actually goes.

Cecilie was also sending us this Finnish article.

Is Shimon Hayut and Simon Leviev the same guy?

[Natalie] We all got in touch with the authorities

and found out the names of the three Finnish women.

I ask Cecilie, does she recognize the victims’ names?

[typing]

[Cecilie] I Google these women.

I don’t recognize anyone.

And then a face pops up that is very familiar.

[eerie music playing]

It’s the same woman that was on the jet with me.

The same woman that has a child with Simon.

How on the fucking Earth were you a victim?

You were standing at the trial back in 2016.

Putting him to jail,

knowing that he had lied to you,

and suddenly, three years later, you’re sitting on a private jet with Simon.

The things that she told me in that car

made me really believe that he was a great guy.

Why didn’t she warn me?

[Natalie] That was extraordinary,

and it made it hard because we didn’t know who to trust.

But we still had to prove to the police that Shimon Yehuda Hayut and Simon Leviev

was the same person.

[tense music playing]

In the indictment, we have his date of birth.

[Kristoffer] So when we typed in “Shimon Hayut” in Google,

that didn’t give us much, basically nothing.

But there’s one thing that Simon Leviev and Shimon Hayut has in common.

They’re both from Israel.

[Erlend] We needed someone who knew Hebrew and knew the country of Israel.

[Natalie] So we contacted this journalist called Uri.

Uri finds out the last known address for Shimon Hayut. We need to go to Israel.

[tense music playing]

[Kristoffer] We’re driving towards the outskirts of the city,

we see more narrow streets,

smaller apartment buildings, and a lot of ultra-Orthodox Jews.

[Natalie] This was the total opposite

of how he wanted to present his life in social media.

Is it here?

[Uri] So let’s park, uh…

[speaking Hebrew]

[Uri] I asked him to stay very near.

[Kristoffer] Okay.

[Uri] In case we need to escape.

Uri, Natalie, and I go out.

My job is to be the cameraman that documents everything that happens.

That’s the name.

That’s the name. This one.

Hmm.

What’s it says?

It’s a letter for him.

For Shimon?

Shimon Hayut.

Yeah, this one.

So he might actually be staying here.

So this is a letter from the authorities

that ask money back from people when you owe money.

Oh, okay.

[in Hebrew] Hello.

Who are you?

We’re journalists.

We’re looking for Simon.

[woman] Who is it?

You are not allowed to be here.

[woman] But, Mom, come in.

So, you’re Simon’s mother.

Where is he?

Where is he?

You’re looking for him, I’m looking for him.

He’s swindled a woman in Norway for a quarter of a million dollars.

I have absolutely no contact with him. I have nothing to do with him.

I’ve not had contact with him since he was 18 years old.

But his registered address is here.

He changed his name and address.

He is not Hayut anymore.

So who is he?

Leviev.

[in English] Let’s go.

[Natalie] To confirm that Simon and Shimon was the same person,

we need to see the local police.

Is this face familiar to you?

[in Hebrew] Yes.

In 2017, he changed his name to Simon Leviev.

Before that, he was known as Shimon Hayut.

[Kristoffer in English] The police confirmed

that Simon Leviev and Shimon Hayut

is the same guy convicted in Finland.

He uses many names.

He has been a fraudster since his late teens.

You start to piece together some more of the puzzle.

Back in 2011, Simon was suspected of stealing a check from his employer.

He moves on to other stolen checks and forged checks.

Simon was supposed to meet in court, but he fled the country.

[policewoman in Hebrew] But then he left Israel.

He forged a passport and left the country.

[Natalie in English] So he’s wanted by the police?

[in Hebrew] Yes.

The Israeli authorities demand that he be found

so the trial against him can continue.

And we’re doing what we can to find him and bring him in.

[Natalie in English] We got a lot of new and really good information

after the trip to Israel,

but we don’t know where he is right now.

Well, I will keep you posted.

Everybody else got their money, so you should too.

I will see what’s going on. I will call the bank.

Love you. Miss you. Bye-bye.

He really apologizes and says that he needs to borrow a little bit more.

I told him, “Simon, you were supposed to transfer back this money you borrowed

a week or two after.”

“Are you sure everything is gonna be okay?”

He’s like, “Yeah, everything is gonna be okay.”

So I transfer him another $10,000.

[Simon] I guarantee you I will make payment next week.

[Pernilla] The next week, he texts me a bank receipt for $100,000.

Simon is being very generous. He only owes me 40,000.

Oh, seriously, Simon, that is so nice of you.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you so, so much.

Kisses.

[Simon] Through the most difficult moments,

you have been there for me.

So that’s why I wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

And then the money just don’t arrive.

[Simon] Unfortunately, the bank want me there physically

with my lawyer to sign some few other papers.

I need to fly and I need to fix it up. I want to ask you a favor.

So I pay for these flights on my American Express card.

[Simon] The money has left our bank account

so you have nothing to worry about.

[Pernilla] He asked me to help him with another flight.

And then another flight, and then another flight.

[sighs] So with time just passing, money doesn’t come in.

[crying] I was just at the bank and they can’t find any transfer.

And that I need to pay my bills. I’m really freaking out.

I’m panicking. Like, I got myself in so, so much trouble right now.

[Simon] They put a stop on my account.

Of course I can give you one of my watches.

I have a watch worth over 100K.

So he tells me he will book me a flight to wherever he is

within a couple of days to collect the watch.

We have a lot of new information, but we still haven’t found him.

So what we have to do is go back into the documentation we got from Cecilie.

[tense music playing]

Cecilie gave us a lot of transactions done with her Amex card.

In these transactions, we see flight tickets.

There are also names.

[Natalie] The business partner.

The bodyguard.

But we could also find names of different women.

[Erlend] So one of the names is Pernilla Sjoholm.

So I find Pernilla on Facebook and write a message to her.

[chimes]

[tense music playing]

I… panic.

I thought I was gonna pass out.

I forward the message straight over to Simon.

[ringing]

[Simon] I would not…

[Pernilla] He says I shouldn’t worry,

that this is his enemies trying to get information.

He really tries to calm me down and even just, like, after hanging up the phone,

I’m starting to realize, like, this can’t be made up.

[ringing]

My phone rings. It is Erlend.

So I asked her, “Can I come to Stockholm to meet you to talk through your story?”

I get on a plane. We were meeting up the next day.

[Pernilla] He tells me everything.

I am furious. Why would Simon do this to me?

This was a friend who I really cared about, who I loved.

He really created this person that I would like,

someone who would be a really good friend.

So, if it’s not only through romantic relationships that he’s pursuing scams,

what else could there be?

[Pernilla] I tell Erlend about all the travels

and the amount of money he has been spending,

and all the other people that I have met.

When he tells me about this Norwegian girl,

I’m starting to realize that the amount of money she has lost

doesn’t add up to the lifestyle that he’s been living,

because there is an extreme amount of money that has been spent.

This must just be the tip of the iceberg.

After looking at Pernilla’s bank accounts, I realize this may be a Ponzi scheme.

[dramatic music playing]

He uses Cecilie’s money on Pernilla,

and he uses Pernilla’s money on somebody else.

It’s never his name on the credit card, so he has plausible excuse.

He can always say, “I was just borrowing the money.”

It’s almost like the perfect scam.

[Erlend] Of course, by using one woman’s credit card

to buy plane tickets to a second woman and to buy a dinner to a third,

he was able to travel a lot, and he never stayed long in one place.

That made it very hard for local police authorities with low budgets

to go after a man that, in their world, was like a small scam.

Hey, we order all the menu.

I ask Pernilla, “Can you tell me where he is?”

[Pernilla] I don’t just only know where he is.

I am booked on a flight to go and see him tomorrow.

He’s in Munich.

In less than 10 hours, we need to be in Munich.

[bells tolling faintly]

[somber music playing]

[Natalie] Our goal in Munich was to film him

to prove to the police that he was possible to find.

You’re really focused.

You know you have this one chance to get what you want.

Also you have responsibility for Pernilla.

Simon can absolutely not find out that they are there or that I have done this,

because I don’t know if it’s dangerous for me

if he does find out that I’m doing this behind his back.

I’m going in there trying to sabotage his fabulous life.

The plan is to keep a safe distance,

and to do that, Natalie is tracking Pernilla’s whereabouts on the iPhone.

[Natalie] In case Simon should look at Pernilla’s phone,

Pernilla saves my number as a different name.

[phone ringing]

That makes it possible for Pernilla to have constant contact with me.

[in Norwegian] She writes that she’s just landed.

We have a photographer outside the airport who may be able to get pictures.

She writes, “My friend is picking me up.”

That must be Simon.

I’ve now received a picture from the photographer.

Wow, he’s in Munich.

[in English] My heart is pounding.

This is the first time I meet his business partner, Avishay,

that he had told me so much about.

I’m starting to become very, very paranoid

because who am I in the car with? Who are they really?

I’m looking at him, and I know the truth, like everything that he has done.

These former feelings that I had that this was my friend just got erased.

I don’t think I ever hated a person my entire life

until that second when I was sitting in that car

and just looking at him.

[Natalie] Pernilla texted me

that they were going to Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

That’s a fancy hotel with a restaurant inside.

Okay.

The most important job I had in there

was to text Kristoffer and the still photographer

whenever they were leaving the restaurant.

[Kristoffer] Opposite, there’s a parking garage.

Just behind gaps in the wall,

we can place our lenses to capture Simon as he walks out.

Everyone knew about him. “Welcome back, Mr. Leviev.”

And that gets me going.

What have you been doing in Munich? How many victims are here?

He tells me he’s sorry about the situation with the money

and he gives me the watch.

He orders everything on the menu,

and I feel so bad even sitting there when we’re having this dinner,

’cause the only thing that goes in my head is,

“Who’s paying for this dinner?”

We’re just waiting and waiting for a text from Natalie.

[tense music playing]

[camera shutter clicking]

Simon looks in our direction, and we hide.

Simon starts speaking in Hebrew and getting very upset to Avishay.

And I’m like, “What’s going on?”

And they were like, “There’s a camera guy over there.”

And he started screaming, like, “Get into the car!”

[car engine revving]

[dramatic music playing]

Driving around so fast through Munich.

I don’t know what they’re saying. Do they know that I have set them up to do this?

What are they really gonna do with me?

Just think, like, “Pernilla, you play your biggest act you have ever done

your entire life, because otherwise you are never coming home.”

I’m trying to twist everything around.

I’m screaming at him, like, “Is this your enemies? Are they after me now, Simon?”

He’s trying to calm down the situation, like, “No, it’s me they’re after.”

I’m telling him, “Just drop me off.”

[brakes squealing]

I never opened a car door as fast in my entire life.

[faint traffic, sirens wailing]

[Kristoffer] We were very concerned about Pernilla.

We realized we wouldn’t be able to confront him there.

We need to go back to Oslo and work out our next step.

[Pernilla] I take the watch to a pawn shop,

and they tell me it is fake.

Of course it is, because nothing about him is real.

I really want to confront him and at least tell me the truth.

That’s what you want from all people. Just tell me the truth, how it is.

[indistinct conversation]

[Natalie] Pernilla really wants to talk to him,

and we are filming that call.

Hello.

Hey, what’s up? Good morning.

Morning.

Good afternoon. Sorry.

It’s okay. What are you doing?

I’m all right, and you?

Um…

I’m not so good, Simon.

What is it?

Can you just tell me the truth?

I told you the truth.

No, you haven’t told me the truth.

Can you give me the entire truth? At least I deserve that.

I told you the entire truth, I don’t understand what is the…

Simon. Simon, I lost everything I have.

Can you please tell me the truth for once. It’s a little…

Pernilla, you have no idea. My enemies are trying to…

Simon! Simon! Simon! Simon, listen to me. I know.

What do you know?

I know about…

Something that I don’t know?

What do you know?

I know everything. Simon, I know…

I know you’re doing this fraud thing. I know you’ve been in jail in Finland.

I know you’re…

What the fuck is this bullshit?

I know about the other people that you have frauded.

You double-cross me…

I can tell you right now,

you will pay for this for the rest of your life.

I am paying for the rest of my life. You took everything I have.

This is your mistake. If you want to make some claims against me,

give me the evidence you have against me.

The Israeli police have confirmed you with your picture.

Nobody has confirmed anything. That’s not true.

Yes.

I had a flight to Amsterdam, right?

Yeah.

Yeah, who paid for that?

I paid for it!

No, you didn’t.

I have the transaction for the ticket, and it’s paid by another woman. [sniffles]

Because of my enemies I couldn’t use my own…

I have paid these people in cash.

I did give them money.

Simon, you can’t keep doing this.

Like, it’s crazy.

Honey, what have you done this all for?

There will be a price, and I promise it’ll be bigger than money.

What do you mean, the price?

You double-cross me, you’re gonna pay for it.

[sighs]

[Pernilla] I really got scared, because what have I done?

The only thing that we can do is to make the VG piece as big as possible

to get his face out there,

because if people would know who he is and recognize his face,

he can’t do this anymore.

[dramatic music playing]

Coming forward with a story like this takes a lot of courage.

I was feeling anxious, you know. VG is the biggest newspaper in Norway.

Like, my face would be on the front cover.

There would be this big online special.

I know that people were gonna judge me. Am I ready?

Your entire life is never gonna be the same again.

Everything just, like, went wildfire. It felt like a nightmare.

Social media is brutal, you know. They’ll eat you alive.

People are saying what a gold digger you are or, “She deserved this.”

[Pernilla crying] A gold digger would never give out a penny.

I never understood this, how you can blame a victim.

All I did was just trying to help people.

I didn’t want anyone else to get hurt.

[Cecilie] But it was kind of nice to just see

and try to focus on the positive things that people were writing.

I could see the amount of shares.

Comment after comment after comment.

“Look at this story,” you know. “It’s just insane.”

[Natalie] We were sitting there watching the numbers go up and up.

Everybody wanted to read The Tinder Swindler. It was going viral.

This is what I wanted. His face is there. His name is there.

No matter who he meets and he says, “Hi. My name is Simon Leviev,”

the moment they Google him now, it will be there.

I met Pernilla. Immediately, we had a bond.

This is the only person who really understands what I am going through.

[Cecilie] We wanted to keep the momentum up.

We joined forces.

Both of us had a goal that this needed to come out

in as many newspapers in as many countries as possible.

Hello.

Hi.

[reporter] First of all, I wanted to apologize

and let you know that not all Israeli men are such crooks.

Talk shows and news agencies in the US, UK, Netherlands, Germany as well.

We needed more exposure and more countries to make their own investigations.

Like, “What did he do in our country? Do we have any victims here?”

But another thing was to actually get the police

to feel the pressure from the media, the pressure from the public,

and do something about this.

[Natalie] The response was really overwhelming.

We were contacted by victims all over the world.

[mail alert chiming]

[woman 1] I met him on Tinder in 2015. We met up Copenhagen…

[woman 2] We dated for around six months. He met my family and friends.

[man 1] He stayed with us in New York.

He said his name was Shimon Yehuda Hayut.

[woman 1] His name was Mordechay Tapiro.

[woman 2] His name was Simon Leviev.

[man 2] My wife and I hired Simon to babysit our five-year-old son.

He was 20 years old at the time.

We knew that his father was a rabbi and he came from a very…

[woman 3] He told me he was heir to an Israeli airline.

He employed me as his PA.

[man 3] He hired me as his personal chauffeur.

And he hired a lot of expensive cars.

He never paid the bill. $300,000.

[woman 4] He told me that he was a Mossad agent

working undercover as a pilot.

[woman 1] He spent nearly $20,000.

[man 1] In just three days, he spent $42,000 on our Amex card.

[man 3] Three of our checks had been forged.

[woman 2] Nearly $50,000 in total.

[woman 4] I’m still not over it, six years later.

I’m scared of him.

[Natalie] We got all this information,

but nothing happened to him.

He was still on the run, he was still a free man,

even though we knew that he was reported to the police

in at least seven different countries.

[woman] I was at the airport in Prague.

I had been visiting my boyfriend.

While I was waiting for my plane to leave,

I was scrolling through Instagram, and I saw the picture of my boyfriend.

I clicked on it.

“The Tinder Swindler”?

What the fuck is this?

I was completely in shock.

I sent the article to Simon, and he started calling me.

[phone ringing]

We were about to take off,

so I downloaded the article and put my phone on airplane mode.

I saw that this girl Cecilie met him on Tinder.

I also met him on Tinder.

He also took me to a five-star hotel on the first date.

[emotional music playing]

I was already dating Simon for 14 months.

So we were in a serious relationship.

I loved him very much.

He was very thoughtful. He would remember every little thing.

I shared my whole heart with him.

We started talking about settling down together, starting a family.

I really felt we were meant for each other.

I was scrolling through the article. I saw these videos coming up.

Cecilie, my love, I love you. I miss you. I can’t wait to see you.

He sent me the same video.

Ayleen, darling,

I miss you.

Peter.

[Simon chuckles]

I went through my WhatsApp history, and I started to compare.

He was sending exactly the same words to her as he did to me.

“Good morning, love. How are you? I love you. I miss you.”

“I wanna have babies with you.”

He took Cecilie to Amsterdam, my hometown.

Exactly the same period as we were dating,

she was looking for houses to start living with him in London.

I was also looking for houses in Amsterdam.

The same day, he was flying to Oslo for a business trip,

he was just going out to see her.

He texted me, “I’m tired as fuck.” Yeah, of course.

He was with Cecilie all night.

He told me that this business deal in Munich went wrong.

But he was meeting Pernilla.

[Simon] Peter is down!

He sent exactly the same pictures to me,

telling me that his enemies had beaten Peter up.

When I got those pictures, I was terrified.

It made me paranoid, constantly looking over my shoulder.

A few years ago, I was followed by two guys and they beat me up.

I told Simon about this.

When Simon said I was being followed, I was full of anxiety all the time.

I’m reading that he is a fugitive.

A convicted criminal.

He swindled women for millions.

My heart almost stopped beating, because I also lent him money.

It started off small.

His enemies were tracking his phones, so he asked me to get some SIM cards.

So I was paying off those bills.

But it became more and more and more.

I gave him $140,000. So much money.

Designer clothes, flight tickets for other women. Fancy dinners.

Now I see, my money he spent on basically bullshit.

I had so many emotions.

The cheating part, the money part.

On one small flight, I lost everything.

I didn’t want the plane to land,

because I needed to face reality, and that reality was terrifying.

The moment I land in Amsterdam, I knew he would call me.

[flight crew] …an enjoyable flight.

Thank you for flying with us, and have a pleasant evening.

[chimes]

[ringing]

[Simon] I mean, I don’t know where this shit came from.

[Ayleen] He says the article was fake.

Cecilie and Pernilla would have been paid by his enemies

to create this article.

I knew I was defrauded. I knew that he was fake.

I love you. I care about you…

[hangs up]

[line ringing]

[woman answers in Dutch]

[Ayleen] I talked to the police.

They said they needed time to build this case,

but it was something I didn’t have,

because I knew that Simon was a fugitive.

The moment he was able to get away, he would.

[hangs up]

I didn’t want him to get away with this.

I wanted to talk to someone who was in the article.

[tense music playing]

I found Pernilla on Instagram.

[Pernilla] So I get a message from this Dutch girl, Ayleen,

saying that she’s the girlfriend of Simon,

and she has seen the story

and says that it feels like

she is in the middle of a horror movie right now.

[ringing]

[Ayleen] Hi.

[Pernilla] Ayleen says she’s going to help us catch him,

but there’s something she needs to do first.

[chiming]

I needed to get my money back. But how? I had to come up with a plan.

Suddenly I realized I was in a quite powerful position.

He wasn’t able to get any women on Tinder anymore

because his face was all over Google.

So he was hiding in Prague

and he had absolutely nowhere else to go besides me.

He always told me keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

[dramatic music playing]

To make him believe I was still on his side,

I told him I still love him, that I believed everything he said.

I even called these girls bitches.

I’m texting Simon all the time,

saying, “Good morning, love. How are you?”

“Good night. Sleep well. I love you. I miss you.”

And he keeps on telling me, and, of course, it’s Simon,

that he needed money to escape from his enemies.

He needed fake passports.

He wanted me to pawn my car.

He wanted me to sell my house.

That’s when I got my idea. I was going to swindle the Tinder Swindler.

Simon only wears designer clothes. He’s covered in it.

Versace, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana.

I work in the luxury fashion industry,

so I know his wardrobe is worth a fortune.

I said to him, “Please, let me sell those clothes for you

so we can generate some money.”

Simon has all of these clothes with him.

I needed to go to Prague.

Before I leave Amsterdam, Simon had a credit card delivered to me.

It says, “David Sharon.”

I take a picture and send it to the police,

telling them Simon is creating a new identity.

His address was in the middle of nowhere.

As I’m getting closer, my heart is pounding.

I thought, “Oh, my God, how can I come up with such a stupid plan?

Because now I need to face him.”

He’s not my boyfriend. He’s not the son of Lev Leviev.

He’s not working for LLD Diamonds.

He is a fraud,

and I have absolutely no idea what he’s capable of.

He was already standing outside waiting for me,

and he hugged me and he kissed me on the lips,

and I felt disgusting.

I was so angry and I wanted to scream,

but the only thing I said was, “I love you and I missed you.”

He made an appointment in the center of Prague,

and he wanted me to come along with him.

We stopped outside this head office of a plastic surgeon.

I was like, “Oh, my God, what are we going to do here?”

He wanted to change his cheekbones, his nose, his lips, maybe his chin,

and the plastic surgeon says,

“I’m sorry, but I’m not going to do this surgery

because only criminals want this.”

I almost spit out my water

because I really wanted to say to this surgeon,

“But he is a criminal.”

As I’m watching this pathetic man crying for not getting his plastic surgery,

I thought,

“If you weren’t such… a piece of shit, I would feel sorry for you.”

In the afternoon, we played boyfriend and girlfriend,

holding hands, having dinner together.

But then I needed to still sleep next to him.

He didn’t make any move, thank God, but I was just in bed, frozen,

looking at the ceiling all night.

Morning finally comes, I pack up three massive suitcases.

Simon didn’t even help me with it.

Right before I was leaving, he hands over this letter.

He said, “Please read it in the plane.” I cannot get out of there fast enough.

[opera music playing]

I remember that I had this letter.

I have it here.

“Dear Ayleen, well, as you know, this is the most difficult time of my life,

and I want to thank you that you are standing by my side

and that you don’t give up on our love.”

“You are the woman of my dreams, and I want to build a future together.”

“To marry you will be an honor for me.”

“And to make a family with kids together, you are the woman I see it with.”

“You’ve got to help me with everything you can.”

“It’s for you, for your parents, for our future. I’m worth it.”

“Now it’s time to do the impossible possible.”

“I’m blessed to have a woman like you in my life

to live in happy ever after.”

“I love you like I never loved before.”

“I trust you.”

“Don’t give up.”

“Love you forever, yours, Simon.”

Just a piece of shit.

[upbeat music playing]

I’m on Operation Sell, Sell, Sell.

[ringing]

Simon is texting and calling me all the time.

“What have you sold? Where’s my money? You need to be quick.”

I keep on telling him I haven’t sold anything.

[mail alert chimes]

[chimes]

I was selling, selling, selling. I was never going to send him the money.

[upbeat music continues]

[phone chimes]

I just got a notification that I got an offer for one of Simon’s items.

Speaking of the Devil.

[interviewer] So you’re still selling his things now?

Yes, I’m still selling his things.

Of course it wasn’t in line with everything that I gave him,

but it felt like a little bit of payback.

[dinging]

[Simon] We need the money on Monday.

Another day, another day. Are you trying to buy time?

You’re dragging it over three fucking weeks. It doesn’t take three weeks.

[Ayleen] After a few weeks, he knows that I was keeping the money for myself.

That’s when he turned around completely.

[Simon shouting] You stop playing game with me now! Stop!

He bombs me with all these messages, and they were so aggressive.

If you’re active, listen to me! You’re gonna give it today.

You don’t know where the fuck you’re going.

Voice memos of, like, 20 minutes.

[irately] I’m sorry about what I said, but that’s it.

But you’re taking the piss out of me.

This is where I saw his several personalities.

[irritably] I love you and I care about you.

I ask a thousand fucking times.

I ask nicely. I’m speaking to you nicely.

I try to respect you, but it’s like you’re fucking with me.

[penitently] You have no idea how much I love you.

You just need to trust me one last time.

I need an answer tomorrow. Believe in me. Have a leap of faith for one time. Do it.

[heatedly] Don’t send me lies. I know how to lie.

I can teach you how to lie.

I need this money to succeed.

Help me out here. I don’t have nobody else. I have only you.

I’m begging from you, please.

[angrily] I give you advice. Choose it!

You disappear. Nobody can see your messages.

I’m not your enemy. I’m not fighting you.

And you will get the worst fucking enemy you have ever seen in your life

for you and for your fucking family if you will ever play with me!

Give it today.

[chiming]

[penitently] Look, Ayleen, I’m sorry about everything.

[angrily] I give you the last fucking warning! Today. You want war?

You will get fucking war! You will get fucking war!

[Ayleen] It was a horrible experience.

But part of me was actually enjoying seeing him “swerm.”

[interviewer chuckles]

Squirm. No. [laughing]

[Simon] Ayleen, can I ask you a favor?

Can you put me one lottery ticket with numbers that I can choose?

How pathetic can you be? I thought you were a billionaire.

He has no money coming in. He had no one to go to.

He even sent me pictures and texts

that he was eating leftovers in a shopping mall.

He grew himself, like, this big beard.

He was sleeping in hostels of $12 a night.

At this moment, I see the real Simon,

because without other people’s money, he was nobody, and he’s nothing.

He even called himself “the homeless king.”

The prince of diamonds to this homeless king.

[laughs] Cry me a river.

One morning, I get a text from him.

[melancholy music playing]

A few weeks before, he was just mentioning he wanted to go to Greece.

When I text him back, my message wasn’t receiving.

I just saw one tick.

That’s when I realized that he was on a flight,

because Simon is always on his phone.

I’m searching for flights from Prague to Athens.

I found a flight exactly the same time as he went offline.

I took a screenshot of the details, and I sent it directly to the police.

He wouldn’t travel under Simon Leviev because he was wanted for fraud.

I also make sure they had the name that I saw on the credit card, David Sharon.

Now, it was in the hands of the police.

It was one of the best moments of my life.

He even says…

He got arrested by Interpol on a fake passport,

under the name David Sharon.

Yeah.

[ringing]

Ayleen tells me, “We got him!”

I just wanted to call Cecilie.

I was like, “Are you fucking kidding me? He’s really caught? Now? Today?”

I can’t even describe the joy it is.

This is what I wanted. I wanted to see him in handcuffs.

I needed justice for myself.

[interviewer] Does he know you gave that information to the police?

No. He never believed that I was capable of doing this.

He knows now. [laughs]

Hi, Simon.

[Pernilla] Everything that we did did have an effect.

We helped at least one person, and we did get him arrested.

Maybe not for everything that we wanted, but he did get arrested.

So our action had a reaction.

[somber music playing]

[Simon] Just got my new iPhone 12 Pro. Just received the new shoes. Perfect.

[Simon speaking indistinctly]

This is the real deal. The Bentley or the Ferrari.

[lock chirps]

[speaking indistinctly]

I wish you a great and magnificent evening.

[exclaiming]

[chimes]

[Simon] I will proceed with the lawsuit against you for defam-in-ation and lies and, you know, that everything is based, basically, on a lie.

And that’s it, this is how it’s gonna be.

[interviewer] Have you been on Tinder since?

Yes. Oh, tons. Yeah, I know.

Everyone is asking me. Tinder has nothing to do with this.

I was on Tinder immediately.

You’re still looking for love?

I’m still looking for love. So…

Always. [chuckles]

[melancholy music playing]

[uplifting music playing]

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