Documentaries have provided some of Netflix’s most viral content. From Tiger King, which brought America the story of Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin, to Unsolved Mysteries, which has led to breaks in actual cases, these hit shows have made a difference in the real world. The latest from the streaming service, The Tinder Swindler, may follow the same path. The series tells the story of a con man who preyed upon women in Europe via Tinder (hence the nickname). So, has the Tinder Swindler been caught yet? Here’s what to know.
Warning: Spoilers for The Tinder Swindler follow. According to the documentary, the so-called “Tinder Swindler” is a man named Shimon Hayut, who goes by Simon Leviev. The women featured on the show allege that the Israeli-born alleged fraudster (who has previous convictions concerning fraud, theft, and forgery unrelated to the events described in the Netflix doc) presented himself to them as the son of wealthy diamond magnate Lev Leviev.
In the documentary, three women claimed Leviev wined them, dined them, and took them on super-expensive trips, which convinced them of his unlimited bank account. Then, they said, once he’d hooked them, he told them he was in danger and declared he could not use his credit card, lest his enemies tracked him down. According to the women, once he had access to their lines of credit and finances, he took them for all they were worth, before moving on to the next victim.
In a since-deleted Instagram story, Hayut denied the allegations made on the show, saying he would have been arrested while the doc was filming if he were guilty. “It's high time the ladies start saying the truth,” he wrote. “If you can't give them world they want [sic] they'll turn yours to hell.”
Tinder also moved swiftly to respond to the documentary’s allegations. The documentary landed on Wednesday, Feb. 2; by Friday, Feb. 4, Tinder announced it had banned Hayut/Leviev from the app.
But banning is only the first step. Currently, the man in question hasn’t been charged with any of the crimes alleged in the Netflix documentary. So, where is he now? Apparently, he’s living as a free man in Israel — at least, according to his Instagram photos shown in the documentary.
The doc also showed evidence that Hayut had somewhere in the neighborhood of 100,000 IG followers before the show debuted. But since then, the alleged “Tinder Swindler” is off social media. Before disappearing, he promised his followers that his side of the story would be coming soon. “I will share my side of the story in the next few days when I have sorted out the best and most respectful way to tell it, both to the involved parties and myself,” he posted. “Until then, please keep an open mind and heart.”
Fans will have to wait and see if anything more comes of this. Meanwhile, the women from whom he allegedly stole millions are still working to pay off their debts. There’s a GoFundMe and all.
The Tinder Swindler is streaming on Netflix.