The Tinder Swindler is a new true-crime documentary on Netflix you do not want to miss. The gripping film tells the story of Cecille Fjellhoy, Pernilla Sjoholm and Ayleen Charlotte’s individual relationships with Simon Leviev and how they came to realize the man they loved was actually a convicted conman.
Simon Leviev, real name Shimon Hayut, posed as the heir of LLD Diamonds between 2017 and 2019 and conned numerous women out of their money and life savings. He would meet his victims via Tinder and lure them into his world with his looks, personality, luxurious lifestyle, and expensive taste. However, things would take a dark turn when he would trick his girlfriends and female friends into believing his enemies in the diamond trade were after him and his life was in danger. For his protection and to avoid leaving a paper trail, he would ask to use their credit cards, racking up bills into the thousands.
As revealed in The Tinder Swindler, his total number of victims remains unknown, but he is believed to have defrauded people of up to $ 10 million in total. He had already served two years in a Finnish jail for defrauding three women.
In 2017 Fjellhoy realized her boyfriend Leviev was not who she thought he was after he failed to repay his debt on her American Express card. She took her story to Norwegian newspaper World Gang where it became apparent she was not his only victim.
Where are Simon Leviev’s Victims Cecilie Fjellhoy, Pernilla, and Ayleen Now?
The Tinder Swindler director Felcitiy Morris and producer Bernie Higgins spoke to Newsweek about Fjellhoy, Sjoholm, and Charlotte’s experience with Leviev and shared the three women were still seeking justice.
Leviev was arrested in 2019, thanks to Fjellhoy, Sjoholm, and Charlotte, but he was never charged with the crimes he had committed against them.
Instead, he was charged with various fraud-related offenses he committed before fleeing Israel in 2017. He was eventually extradited back to the country and, in December 2019, he was sentenced to 15 months in a Tel Aviv prison after pleading guilty to numerous frauds charges. However, he only served five months of his sentence as he was released as a result of the coronavirus pandemic in mid-2020.
Speaking to Newsweek, Morris said it was a “huge blow” for his victims to see him released from prison.
She said: “He served the time for those until he was released early because of COVID. Which was fortunate for him. And I think that is a huge blow for his victims to sort of see the way he’s living his life today.
“Up until recently, his Instagram was open, it wasn’t set to private and Simon’s driving around in Ferraris. He’s taking pictures of himself in private jets, he’s dating glamorous women. And so, therefore, you think, ‘Well, that does not look like justice to me. “
However, Morris confirmed Fjellhoy, Sjoholm, and Charlotte had not given up hope and continue to fight for justice today.
She shared: “Cecilie and Ayleen and Pernilla would love for him to see his day in court. They’ve got stacks and stacks of evidence.”
Higgins added Fjellhoy, Sjoholm, and Charlotte are simply “carrying on.”
She explained: “Well, they’re just carrying on really. Cecilia has had to declare herself bankrupt. So they’re still fighting their cases in various courts trying to get the fines against them taken away and trying to get courts to understand that they are basically victims, of coercive control. Simon is still living his best life on Instagram with models, and flash cars, and meanwhile, these women have been left to kind of pick up and kind of try and rise from the ashes of what is left for them. They’re all remarkably strong women. “
Fjellhoy, who was scammed out of $ 200,000 by Leviev, continues to reside in London where she works as a senior UX designer at a software development company. She is also the founder of action: reaction, a non-profit organization that aims to support victims of fraud and campaigns to change legislation to ensure victims get the right help.
Unfortunately, Fjellhoy has yet to receive the money she lost from Leviev and is still paying off her debts.
One positive to come out of her ordeal is her friendship with Sjoholm. As seen in The Tinder Swindler, the pair formed a close bond and, if their Instagram accounts are anything to go by, they remain great friends.
Speaking about Fjellhoy’s experience, Higgins reflected: “Cecilia was the through-line of the film. So it was really important that we experienced the con as she did so [audience] thought, ‘why would she have thought this was not for real?’ There was so much evidence to verify everything that he was saying that it makes it a lot harder for people to say that it could never have happened to them.
“That was a really big message that we wanted to get across and also just the fact that you do not have to be powerless in this situation and you can take control and you can control the narrative and you can make something happen. You don ‘t just have to accept the first answer that you get when somebody tells you this is an important thing. I’m gonna go wherever I have to go to make my story heard. “
Sjoholm is still paying off the $ 45,000 debt she accumulated through her friendship with Leviev. According to Bustle.com, she works in sales and marketing at a high-end coffee distributor today.
Unlike Sjoholm and Fjellhoy, Charlotte managed to get at least some of the money he took from her back.
Leviev defrauded her of $ 140,000 in total but by convincing him to let her sell his designer clothes online, she managed to make at least $ 9,000 back by keeping the profits for himself.
Unfortunately, very little is known about Charlotte today.
Morris also shared her hopes that the documentary The Tinder Swindler would be the first step in getting justice for Leviev’s victims.
“What we’ve hoped with this film — and Cecilie really started the relay race or held the baton first — is that it will act as justice for them in some way. Because obviously, Netflix is such a huge global platform. Lots of people watch it, and lots of people will see Simon for who he really is. He can not sort of hide behind the guise that has been Simon Leviev, the heir of the Israeli diamond fortune anymore. “
The Tinder Swindler is streaming on Netflix now.