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When you think of a scam, what comes to mind? A morally bankrupt sociopath looking for money? A convincing, heartless liar that you would never suspect? While most con artists fit at least one of these descriptions, there are also a select few that are even more nefarious than you might expect. Enter Simon Leviev: a handsome, charming con man who scammed women out of millions of dollars, while creating an elaborate scheme of pretending to be a fake diamond empire heir, looking for true love on Tinder.
His victims were seduced by his luxurious lifestyle as a supposed son of a diamond mogul - the Israeli Diamantier Lev Leviev, aka King of Diamonds. The truth was, that the man who pretended to be Simon Leviev was Shimon Hayut, a seasoned fraudster who started his scamming career and frequent encounters with the law as early as his late teenage years. He adopted the persona of a rich diamond dealer, traveling the world on a private jet, and successfully sold that “brand” to unsuspecting women he found on Tinder. His formula was simple - he would come strong onto the victims with a love bomb that included charm, grandiose demonstrations of wealth, lots of flowers, and sweet notes. When the women were inevitably swept away, he would proceed to ask them to borrow money, with the promises to pay them back. However, he was running a romantic Ponzi scheme of sort. Not only did the Tinder Swindler never pay them back, he would use the money of his current victim to woo his next victim. Talking about plans to get married and have a life together with each victim, was only one of his methods to manipulate his captive audience. He even went as far as pretending to be attacked by his "enemies". When all else failed, he had no problem threatening his victims.
However, three of his victims — Cecilie, Pernilla and Ayleen — decided to fight back. Simon managed to convince Cecilie to give him over $200,000 dollars, leaving her completely blindsided, in debt, and suicidal. With no help from the police or the banks where she borrowed the money to give Simon, Cecilie went to share her story with journalists. That eventually led to the arrest of Simon, and in the process Cecilie met two of his other victims, Pernilla and Ayleen. The Netflix special The Tinder Swindler, based on their stories, exposed the truth about Simon Leviev. Unfortunately, even though the swindler was eventually arrested in Greece and extradited to his native country Israel, he was sentenced only to 15 months in jail. Due to the Corona virus, he only served five months, and is currently a free man. Not only that, but he has legally changed his name to Leviev, and is dating an Israeli supermodel.
In the meantime, the real Leviev family accused Simon Leviev of "making false representations as being the son of Lev Leviev and receiving numerous benefits (including material ones), cunningly and using false words, claiming to be a member of the Leviev Family, and that his family (Leviev) will pay and bear the costs of his benefits," according to a lawsuit filed in Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court in Israel. But the King of Diamonds is yet to shake off the imposter, who continues to represent himself as a Leviev heir at any opportunity he gets.
The real Leviev' s diamond company - Lev Leviev Diamonds, decided to go above and beyond to help the three victims of the Tinder Swindler. With the help of the company, Cecilie, Pernilla and Ayleen designed a bracelet together to heal their broken hearts. Called the Stronger Together bracelet, it includes two golden rings and two natural diamonds, interlocked within each other, symbolizing how the world is round and things do come full circle. The bracelet represents women supporting women and speaking up to bring justice against all criticism, because when women are together, they are stronger. The Stronger Together bracelet is a powerful symbol of female solidarity and empowerment. All profits are going directly to the three victims to help them recoup their financial losses.
In the aftermath of the Tinder Swindler, Cecilie has founded 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. Pernilla is going to be a new mom to twins, and Ayleen is working to launch her own wine label and lifestyle brand. As for their predator Simon - he is still a free man.
- If you’d like to purchase the Stronger Together bracelet and support the victims of the Tinder Swindler, you can do so directly from the Lev Leviev Diamonds site.
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