The official poster for “The Tinder Swindler.” The film showcases Simon Leviev’s Ponzi scheme using Tinder. PUBLIC DOMAIN

Would you lend money to the billionaire’s handsome son that you were dating? Simon Leviev, an Israeli fugitive, used this persona on a dating app to swindle millions of dollars from women all over the world.

The “Tinder Swindler” showcases Leviev’s insane Ponzi scheme using the dating app Tinder. Pretending to be the son of a Russian-Israeli diamond mogul “The King of Diamonds,” Lev Leviev, the con artist used the persuasive methods of extravagant dates, fancy hotels, private jets and glamor to con women he met on Tinder.

After gaining their trust, he would create an elaborate story, claiming he needed to use their credit cards for security reasons. He would never pay them back and would use the money for the next girl he met.

This crime documentary is Netflix’s latest release to shake up the streaming world; the film has been trending in Netflix’s top 10 in 92 countries. The women in the film, Cecilie Fjellhøy, Pernilla Sjoholm and Ayleen Charlotte share their experiences, their anger and their drive for justice. Some of the women are up to almost $200,000 in debt, with no end in sight.


However, through the power of social media, their GoFundMe page has raised almost $170,000. The film trending on social media has also led to increased conversations about victim-blaming and modern-day catfishing.

Some critics online have been following the outdated concept of blaming the victims for not knowing better. To blame the women in this situation mirrors a concept that has been used for centuries to take the blame off of the men, who are the ones committing the crimes. Leviev has been found to be doing this for many years to many women; this Ponzi scheme was calculated and choreographed. After watching the film, anyone can see that he used emotional manipulation at every chance possible.

After the women contacted the police, Simon Leviev was arrested for a fake passport — not fraud — and then released after five months. The good news is that because of the intense social media traction, Tinder banned him from using the site.

This documentary has opened up many conversations on social media and has shined a light on an illicit international con-man. It has become Netflix’s first-ever documentary to lead the streamer’s weekly film chart and got 45.8 million hours of views globally during the week of its release.



Sydney Riddle (she/hers) is the Arts and Culture Assistant Editor at The Statesman. She is a junior Journalism Major with a concentration in Diversity and American Society. She also contributes to the multimedia section and is part of the Stony Brook Media Group.


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