‘Tinder Swindler’ Simon Leviev denies fraud claims in TV interview

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Shimon Hayut – more widely known under the alias of Simon Leviev – insisted that he is not a fraud or a fake in an interview with Inside Edition television show after the viral Netflix documentary ‘The Tinder Swindler’ exposed him for defrauding multiple women out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Leviev, the subject of the documentary, told Inside Edition, that he was “just a single guy that wanted to meet some girls on Tinder,” denying the fact that he posed as the son of Israeli diamond mogul Lev Leviev.

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“I want to clear my name. I want to say to the world: this is not true,” he said in the interview that aired in the US on Monday. “I’m not this monster that everybody has created.”

According to the documentary, he had scammed various women using the same tactic, by developing an emotional connection with them and then asking them to establish lines of credit and loans in their names to ensure that he does not get caught and to carry on living an ultra-luxurious life without the responsibility to pay it back to the banks.

When asked about how he still manages to afford a lavish lifestyle, he said that he was a “legit businessman” who made his fortune when he “bought Bitcoin in 2011 when it was nothing. I don’t need to say how much it’s worth now.”

Online news media The Times of Israel estimates that Leviev is believed to have stolen around $10 million over the years from scamming numerous women across Europe in a Ponzi scheme.

The documentary debuted on Netflix on February 2 and quickly rose to the top 10 most-watched movies of the week on the streaming service in several countries.

Leviev was sentenced to two years in prison for fraud in Finland in 2015. In 2019, he was also sentenced to 15 months in prison in Israel and is wanted in several countries for fraud.

According to online news media Variety, Leviev also spent five months of a 15-month sentence in an Israeli prison in 2019.

He was also charged with theft, forgery and fraud for cashing stolen checks in 2011. It was reported in the documentary that he stole checkbooks belonging to a family which he was babysitting for and while working as a handyman in other peoples’ homes while in Israel. He never showed up to court; instead, he fled the country.

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