I wrote recently about the scam that was attempted on me by having friendly chat messages sent to me by young East Asian women. But that seems like small potatoes compared to the elaborate scam revealed in a well-made new British documentary that was just released on Netflix that describes a conman who used the dating app Tinder to meet up and romance women and con them out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. The documentary tells the story very effectively through the voices of three of his victims. I could tell that the documentary was well made because even though the subject matter is so foreign to me (internet dating and lifestyles of the rich), I found myself gripped.
Here’s the trailer.
A Netflix companion site provides a brief synopsis.
The so-called Tinder Swindler is Shimon Hayut, a convicted fraudster born in Israel. Hayut used dating apps to meet multiple women, then established lines of credit and loans in their names, ultimately leaving them holding the bills.
Like a demonic Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me If You Can, Hayut appeared happy to jump from one identity to another in order to keep his scheme running. He was convicted of fraud in Finland under his birth name but carried out his Tinder con under the name Simon Leviev, claiming to be the son of wealthy diamond magnate Lev Leviev. Once his name was revealed in a VG expose, he supposedly took the name David Sharon to evade the authorities.
Hayut apparently followed a pattern: He would match with a woman on Tinder, take her on a costly and impressive first date (in the case of Cecilie Schrøder Fjellhøy, a trip on a private jet), and slowly build their relationship while flying around the world and secretly dating other women. His accusers claim that, at a certain point, Hayut would confide in them that he was worried a nebulous group of his “enemies” was just around the corner. Eventually, he would send a photo of his bleeding bodyguard, allegedly injured by these enemies, to incite further concern. Once that groundwork had been laid, he would urgently message each “girlfriend” to say that his credit card could not be used for security reasons and ask her to open a new one under her name for him to use. From there, he was off to the races.
Hayut/Leviev ran what was essentially a Ponzi scheme, lavishly using the money he got from one woman to impress other women that he was a wealthy jet-setter He is clearly a sociopath, destroying the lives of multiple women so that he could live a luxurious lifestyle.
The women have, in addition to being swindled, faced the added insult of being ridiculed on the internet for having been seduced by the apparent wealth of the conman. That seems undeserved but is a common internet reaction whenever women are involved. Most people looking for romance are trusting and do not go enter into a relationship thinking that the other person is a swindler. It seems clear that these women were so overawed by someone who lived such a luxurious life of private jets, limousines, fancy hotels, and the like, that they overlooked what, in hindsight, were warning signs.
But that is not uncommon. Look at all the older men, some of them supposed intellectuals, who were completely swept away by Jeffrey Epstein using his wealth to impress them with a flamboyant lifestyle to the extent that they did not see the even more obvious warning signs that he was a pedophile. Or at least now claim they did not see them. These women come across as kind and generous people who wanted to help someone they had come to consider as a friend (or even closer) and who had got into trouble and appealed to them for help. Watching the documentary, I could well understand how they could have got trapped in the web of an utterly despicable sociopath who carefully plotted how to get them to trust him.
Adrian Horton writes about Hayut/Leviev and the inevitable second act that criminals have in the internet age, where they use their viral fame, however ugly it is, to create a new career as a celebrity. He has hired a Hollywood agent.
I mean, technically that’s an accurate sentence. In fact, it’s so common “when women are involved” that it happens when the women are the ones doing the swindling and hapless lonely men are the ones being scammed out of money. Which is, if you think about even for a second, a way WAY common occurrence given the statistical demographic of most dating sites and the demographic distribution of cash. And the many, many male victims aren’t so much ridiculed as completely dismissed as deserving of being the victims of this kind of shit, or indeed people simply forget they exist, or pretend they don’t exist -- like in the sentences quoted above. Whatever happened to Ally Fogg’s FtB?
This denigration of women as “gold-diggers” happens IRL, as well. In December 2019, I was a guest at a wedding where the bride was a 20-something with a master’s degree and a high-level job, the 20-something groom…changed out paper receipt tapes for a local grocery chain. The bride and her family split the bills for the wedding location, the pre-wedding dinner, all the wedding stuff, the photographer, the DJ, and all the reception stuff. During the reception, the groom’s father request the DJ play the song “Gold-digger” and dedicate it to the bride. hahahaha, wimmen be gold-diggers, amirite? @@
De-listed due to inactivity.
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@K,2: eh? “gold digger”!=”actual criminal”.
John Morales says
sonofrojblake, K neither stated nor intimated that a gold digger is a criminal, whether actual or otherwise.
As for Holms, I presume it’s ROT13; I’d check, but I have no incentive. Obviously about Ally and his ex-blog.
Just copied Holms’ comment over to rot13.com, Can confirm that it makes no more sense under rot13 than it does as posted here—nor does it make any more sense under any other “alphabet rotation”. Presumably it’s a slightly more involved substitution cipher..
John Morales says
cubist, huh. You’re right about ROT13, I’m not going to check further.
I note “rvzzz”, which cannot correspond to any English word via simple substitution.
(I speculate it relates to the subject upon which he is proscribed on this blog, else why the obfuscation?)
@John Morales, 5.
You’re right they didn’t. I was pointing out how bafflingly irrelevant their comment was.
John Morales says
To you, maybe.
Mano: “The women have, in addition to being swindled, faced the added insult of being ridiculed on the internet for having been seduced by the apparent wealth of the conman. That seems undeserved but is a common internet reaction whenever women are involved. Most people looking for romance are trusting and do not go enter into a relationship thinking that the other person is a swindler. It seems clear that these women were so overawed by someone who lived such a luxurious life of private jets, limousines, fancy hotels, and the like, that they overlooked what, in hindsight, were warning signs.”
K: “This denigration of women as “gold-diggers” happens IRL, as well.”
That, you find bafflingly irrelevant.
But sure, you ostensibly don’t get that “This denigration of women” directly refers to the OP’s “The women have, in addition to being swindled, faced the added insult of being ridiculed on the internet for having been seduced by the apparent wealth of the conman”. A bit obscure.
What it seems to me is that your thrust (ahem) was “but, men!” when that was not the topic.
As for stats regarding the gender of victims, well… they’re there.
(How familiar with them are you?)
I find it bafflingly irrelevant because by definition the already wealthy women this man was swindling to finance his lifestyle couldn’t fit any sensible definition of “gold digger”. If they were gold diggers, he’d have no interest in them, his scam simply wouldn’t work. The ENTIRE POINT of the whole thing is that these are women who (a) already have a lot of money and (b) can be persuaded to hand it over. To call them “gold diggers”, or to pretend other people are ridiculing them for that reason, just seems to either misunderstand what the word means, or to have massively missed the point of the documentary.
These women are being ridiculed for being gullible, and you’d have to be pretty ignorant to think there’s anything gendered about that attribute.
Then you didn’t understand. That’s OK, my point was obscure and complex, probably quite difficult to define from the abstruse language I used that the average reader may not be able to penetrate. You’re forgiven.
My thrust was “the ridicule is not gendered”, in opposition to K’s contention that it was/is.
Rich, gullible men who get taken in by persuasive women who scam them for money are ridiculed just as much, if not more, than women who are victims of the same crime, exist in far greater numbers, and are frequently dismissed as deserving of their fate. I mean -- they’re rich, and they’re men, who gives a shit about either of those demographics? This documentary only even works, only gains sympathy from the audience, because the victims are, unusually, women. Rich, gullible women.
Okay, rojmiller, I get your point. Whenever a man is taken in by a grifting woman, it’s a federal crime and should be solved with public beheading…even though the men whining about it, aka The Incels, are usually bottom-feeders with nothing to steal. And if they resort to violence, as in the case of Elliott Rodgers who was so furious the hot chicks on campus didn’t know he existed, the perfect solution is to kill his roommate, then go shoot up the campus and kill random people.
If, however — as in this documentary — a number of woman are taken in by the same swindler who preys on women offering companionship and instead takes their money to take (or in some cases even kills them, because that’s pretty common, too, and many vulnerable women have no money)…well, hos be hos and anyway WHAT ABOUT THE MENZ? How can anyone POSSIBLY tell a focused story about crime that went down on a woman and *not mention the men*. Eleventy!!11!!
I bet you were furious that The Mary Tyler Moore show back in the 1970s, and said it was a terrible show because in every episode, they featured Mary. What about the menz, huh? Why weren’t they the star of the Mary Tyler Moore show? Even worse, often the women she shared the house-turned-apartment-flats with dropped by to chat. Only about half the show was Mary in her newsroom working exclusively with men and helping them through their problems. How dare they make a show about a woman and not have any shows about men?!?!
I’m sure you think the movie about Ted Bundy was defaming a nice young man who just wanted to travel the country and meet people. The BTK Strangler was a great bloke who enjoyed exercise and writing letters to the newspapers.
@K, 12: You are a slymepit troll cosplaying a rightwing fantasy of what a SJW is like (obtuse, irrational, hyperbolic to the point of dishonesty and dumb or rude to the point you can’t (or be bothered to) get a simple name right) and I claim my five pounds.
Paragraph 1: no. Whenever a man is taken in by a grifting woman it’s precisely as heinous a crime as when a woman is taken in by a grifting man. The former is just more common, because patriarchy. This is NOT a “but the MENZ!” point.
Paragraph 2: no. If you read for comprehension, you’ll see I have no problem with the documentary at all. My disagreement was with your characterisation of the response as having to do with the women in it being “gold diggers”, of the response to it being gendered, rather than, as would seem to me obvious, being more to do with the fact the victims were rich and gullible.
Once again: the docu has only been made at all because the type of crime it depicts is unusual and against the grain. To claim that the abuse the victims have received is because they’re seen as “gold diggers”, though, both insults them and also fundamentally fails to understand either (a) what a gold digger is and does or (b) what the chap in the documentary was actually doing.
Paragraph 3: I have no fucking idea what you’re wittering on about.
Paragraph 4: no. I don’t have any interest in or obsession with serial killers. Projection, much?
Sonofrojblake, you’re not fooling anyone.
Oh well, the prediction did not come to pass.
K, your comment at #12 was not something to be proud of.
John Morales says
There was no prediction, Holms. Just line noise.
There was, it was just hidden I could pounce if the prediction was fulfilled but remain unknown if not.
What could you have predicted that you’d be so ashamed of after the fact of it wasn’t right? I mean, how can you possibly care?
Not shame. If a person read comments before posting and saw that the thing they were going to post was predicted, a lot of people would refrain from posting that thing. So, hiding the prediction.
Which part of “after the fact” was unclear? I understand perfectly well why you encrypted, I just don’t get why you wouldn’t explain now, when it won’t affect anything.
Mainly because no one asked!
Try: vigenere. It’s a type of cipher.
It is the act of a massively arrogant wanker not to simply post the plaintext. I was mildly curious about the content, but not the point of doing fucking homework.
Arrogance, sure dude. You know there are online cipher decoders?
John Morales says
I know there are online decoders. I know you have the plaintext and could have just posted it, but you want to see people jump through hoops for your amusement.
Post the plaintext, or go fuck yourself, I don’t mind either way.
John, 64 three times ! right?
Son, I didn’t keep any plaintext. Run the decoder or don’t, but for a guy that ‘doesn’t mind either way’ you sure to piss and moan a lot.
chigau (違う) says
Some people also think it was an mra blog, in the full ‘chauvinist arsehole / internet troll’ sense, and will probably gravely denounce it as such in the very near future. They might even deploy the ‘duly noted’ construction, for maximum disdain points. These people think that anyone taking up any male-associated issue at all is automatically that kind of mra, and never mind that Holms is a total wanker that implies the total absence of any good faith male-centric activism in the view of those people.