Did the Tinder Swindler Learn His Lesson? Where Is He Now?

THE TINDER SWINDLER, Joe Stassi, 2022.  Netflix /Courtesy Everett Collection
THE TINDER SWINDLER, Joe Stassi, 2022. Netflix /Courtesy Everett Collection

There is no shortage of true-crime documentaries on Netflix and beyond, but "The Tinder Swindler" sounds more like a fiction movie than a documentary. The documentary tells the story of Shimon Hayut, an Israeli con man who used Tinder to meet his marks and gain their trust in order to con them out of thousands of dollars. Victims Cecilie Fjellhoy, Pernilla Sjoholm, and Ayleen Charlotte share their stories in the Netflix project.

How Did the Tinder Swindler Con Women?

Hayut's con spanned multiple countries, as the Netflix documentary shows. During a spree that ended in 2019, he used Tinder to target and catfish women from Norway, Finland, and Denmark. Hayut posed as Simon Leviev, a Russian oligarch and the son of a billionaire diamond-mine owner, and charmed his dates into trusting him. From there, he would convince them to take out lines of credit under their names in order to "help" him "protect himself" from the many enemies he claimed were out to get him. Of course, there were no such enemies, and the money the women had lent to him was long gone.

How Did the Tinder Swindler Get Caught?

According to The Times of Israel, Hayut was caught and arrested in July 2019 for using a fake passport in a joint operation between Interpol and Israeli police.

What Was the Tinder Swindler's Prison Sentence?

According to Variety, Hayut went to prison in Israel in December 2019 and was sentenced to 15 months behind bars. However, he only served five months before he was released. This wasn't his first stint in jail, either. In 2015, he served two years in a Finnish prison for conning three women, according to The Times of Israel. His time in Finland wasn't even the beginning - he was in Finland on a fraudulent passport after fleeing Israel to avoid (you guessed it!) accusations of theft, forgery, and fraud from 2011.

Where Is the Tinder Swindler Now?

After being released from prison in early 2020, Hayut reportedly pulled off yet another con. The Times of Israel reported that he posed as a front-line medical worker in December 2020 to get a COVID-19 vaccine when vaccines weren't yet available to the general public in his age and risk categories. Hayut disputed the accusations to Channel 12, claiming he had a medical condition that allowed him early access to the vaccine. Channel 12 refuted his medical claims. Hayut reportedly threatened to sue the medical center where he received the vaccine. "I am not someone who waits in line or at places. . . . I am a businessman," he told Channel 12, according to The Times of Israel. "I have money. I can buy anyone or anything that I want."

In 2022, Hayut joined Cameo, a website where public figures can sell personalized video messages to fans. His prices range from $300 for personalized messages to $1,400 for business advice. The subject of "The Tinder Swindler" also revealed he has plans to enter the Hollywood sphere. Hayut was signed by talent manager Gina Rodriguez of Gitoni Inc., she told "Entertainment Tonight." "I was intrigued with the Netflix story. I saw the world's greatest salesman," Rodriguez told the outlet. "It left me with a lot of unanswered questions and was very biased. I believe there are two sides to every story and everyone should have the chance to tell their side of the story." Hayut is looking at opportunities to host a podcast or a dating show and/or write a book.

Sjoholm appeared on "Tamron Hall" on Feb. 17 and reacted to Hayut's latest business ventures. "To be honest, I was heartbroken to see any company to collaborate with a criminal. . . . [I'm] honestly heartbroken," Hayut's victim said. "We're coming out here, sharing our story and trying to share [with] the world a criminal and what he's doing, and for anyone to collaborate with these types of people, like, it's honestly - it's very heartbreaking."

Of Rodriguez taking on Hayut as a client, Sjoholm said: "As a woman, I don't know how you can go to bed at night and [be] doing this. I mean, this could be your daughter that this happened to, it could be your sister, your family member that this happened to. It's not that he scammed us, he put death threats on us. It's serious things."

Although Hayut was released from prison in early 2020, where he is now is anyone's guess. His current whereabouts are not officially known, and now, with the high profile of his story, they're likely to stay that way for some time until he tells his side of the story. According to Sjoholm, "He's just hiding in Israel at the moment."