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Several victims of the so-called “Tinder Swindler” have banded together in hopes of finally moving on.
Cecilie Fjellhøy from Norway, Pernilla Sjöholm from Sweden and Ayleen Charlotte from Amsterdam have teamed up with Chagit Leviev, CEO of Leviev Diamonds, to launch a bracelet called “Stronger Together”.
The piece, designed by women, features two golden rings and two intertwined diamonds. It retails for $169 and all proceeds will go to the women to recoup their financial losses. They will donate 10% of the profits to charity.
“I looked at the [Netflix] documentary like everyone else,” Leviev told Fox News Digital. Leviev noted that she was the one who asked the women to work together after watching the film.
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“One day I woke up and suddenly found that our family, our business, even our family photos were in this documentary without us being prepared for it,” Leviev said. “It was a real shock, but it was also really sad to see what these women went through and how this guy managed to manipulate them. He posed as the CEO of this company. But I also felt proud that they all came forward to talk about it in front of the whole world to try and fight this guy.
“We tried to fight it for years, and we couldn’t stop it,” she added. “We just didn’t know how to get him to stop. The fact that his story finally came to light in this Netflix documentary only proved that he couldn’t get away with his lies. I felt that these women had done such a brave thing by sharing their story, this humbling experience. I wanted to support them. I thought we could create something together where they could enjoy the benefits.
Shimon Hayut was accused of dressing up as Simon Leviev, the globetrotting son of Leviev’s father, Israel’s “diamond king” Lev Leviev. By allegedly using this identity, he would charm the women he found on the popular dating app with his affluent lifestyle.
Once a long-distance relationship was established, the 31-year-old allegedly tricked women into giving him up to thousands of dollars, insisting he worked in a dangerous business. But while supposedly moving for work, Hayut is said to have continued to live lavishly on the money of his victims.
Fjellhøy, Sjöholm and Charlotte were just three of many women who claimed to have been defrauded by Hayut. According to reports, Hayut defrauded around $10 million from people around the world from 2017 to 2019.
A spokesperson for Hayut did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
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“I think it’s important to point out that he didn’t just scam women,” Sjöholm explained. “A fraudster is going to take every opportunity, and it’s not just women. And people have been embarrassed to speak out, so they get away with it. With fraud, the victims are usually blamed. Like, how could they do this to you?
“The misconception a lot of people still have is that we fell in love with his money,” Charlotte said. “The truth is, I really thought I had a connection with him. But a fraudster is like a chameleon. They change colors. They change personalities with everyone they meet. Everyone thinks we’re just fell in love with him and within a few days we were sending him money. But that’s not true. For example, in my case, I was already with him for seven months before he ‘he doesn’t start asking for money. People call us gold diggers, but I think I’d be the worst gold digger in the world if I gave all my money away!’
Hayut fled his home country in 2011 to avoid fraud-related offenses he committed in his early 20s, The Times of Israel reported. He fled to Finland, where he was sentenced to two years in a Finnish prison in 2015 after being accused of defrauding three women. He returned to Israel in 2017, but then traveled to Europe a second time when he changed his name. According to the outlet, Leviev’s father filed a complaint against Hayut for “misrepresenting himself as his son”.
Hayut was a wanted man in several countries, including Israel, Sweden, England, Germany, Denmark and Norway, People magazine reported. Hayut was arrested by police in Greece in 2019 after using a fraudulent passport. He was deported to Israel. Later that year he was convicted of fraud, theft and forgery. He was sentenced to 15 months in prison but was released after five months for “good behavior”.
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After his release, Hayut was active on social media where he had over 200,000 followers on Instagram. At one point, he even had a website where he charged clients over $300 for trading advice. Both pages have since been deleted. His Cameo page, where he charges $99 for custom videos, is still live. People magazine noted that he was back on Tinder after his release.
He declined to participate in the film before its release in February this year. Over 50 million people streamed the documentary within weeks of its premiere. That same month, he was banned from the platform. Tinder also added new guidelines: ‘Romance scams: how to protect yourself online’, emphasizing the need to research scammers who will use the platform to prey on ‘vulnerable’ people looking for sex. love”.
The documentary noted that Leviev “was never accused of defrauding” the women and that they always paid off their debts. Fjellhøy, Sjöholm and Charlotte have started a GoFundMe fundraiser, stating on their page, “All we want is for our lives to come back.”
Chagit previously told Forbes that beginning in 2017, she and her family received numerous calls and emails from European suppliers regarding unpaid charters for private planes, yachts and high-end car services. Hayut was due to appear in an Israeli court on June 28 to face criminal charges brought against him by the Leviev family.
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“So many people kept calling us and saying, ‘Is this your brother?'” Chagit said. “Most people couldn’t understand that he was pretending to be a brother. They thought he was a real family member. Our business was bombarded with attacks and bad reviews.
“People were swearing we hired Simon to do these fake checks and pay stubs. They thought we were involved in some way. But we were defrauded ourselves. even now, people ask, ‘How is your brother?’
“I hope this collaboration clears up a lot of that confusion,” she said. “He’s not a family member. He’s not involved with us.”
The women said they were still determined to rebuild their lives. They hope to have the courage to trust again.
“We are still fighting,” Fjellhøy said. “We’re not giving up. But it’s been so hard to get justice. … I felt alone in this case. But after hearing these stories from other women, we look to each other for inspiration “We’ve met, and we support each other. There’s sadness in this situation, but it’s nice to see something positive, this friendship blossoming.”
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Hayut has vehemently denied all the allegations made against him.
After the documentary was released, he told Inside Edition that he was “just a single guy who wanted to meet girls on Tinder”, insisting that “I’m not a Tinder scammer”. He also told EW that the Netflix movie was “an entirely made-up movie.”
More recently, Hayut confirmed to Forbes that he legally changed his name to Simon Leviev in 2017. He also denied the Leviev family’s allegations.
“First of all, let me start by saying this is not a court case. This is a show that will take place in court,” her statement said in part. “The Leviev family filed this private complaint against me. Technically anyone can do this without any evidence or solid evidence. That’s why they chose to do it this way and not do it the way formal as it should be, and it’s just to show they’re doing something.
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“I am innocent and will be suing the Leviev family soon, like I sued the ladies in 2019… This is a show, a publicity stunt. The Leviev family is not the law, they are offenders.”
But for Charlotte, she said the message her bracelet represents was clear.
“It’s like a big f—- you for him,” she said. “It’s the perfect reward.”