Vol. 15, No. 11 – Feb 23 – Mar 8, 2022 – Movie Review

Streaming Spotlight by Cindy Summers
The Tinder Swindler – Netflix Documentary

4 out of 4 palm trees

The Tinder Swindler is a British true crime documentary about Israeli conman Simon Leviev who used the Tinder dating app posing as the son of wealthy billionaire Lev Leviev to manipulate hundreds of women emotionally into giving him what totaled millions of dollars. The documentary centers around the experiences of three women; Cecilie Fjellhoy, Pernilla Sjoholm and Ayleen Charlotte, who all lived in different places around the world.

In his many online accounts, Simon had pictures of him traveling on private jets, sailing, business meetings, beaches, cool cars and amazing parties all over the world. Posing as CEO of LLD Diamonds (his so-called family business), Simon had photos on his social media accounts showing him pictured on family vacation with Lev Leviev (who was known as the king of diamonds) and his wife. Though Lev Leviev was the actual owner of LLD Diamonds, he had no relationship to Simon who was later found to have faked the family photos.

Cecilie Fjellhoy dreamed since childhood of finding a prince charming, and Simon immediately swept her off her feet by sweeping her away in a private jet to Bulgaria after meeting him for the first time over coffee. Cecilie had never been on a private jet, and Simon would arrange private flights several more times for Cecilie to meet him while he was traveling. Simon told those he dated that due to his families wealth and influence, there were people after him which necessitated him always traveling with his friend and bodyguard Peter.

While away, Simon reached out to Cecilie saying that Peter had been attacked while protecting Simon and he was having trouble with his credit cards and needed her help, even sending photos of them in an ambulance with a large cut on Peter’s head. Cecilie provided Simon with a platinum AMEX and also asked her to take out a personal loan and bring 25,000 in cash to him in Amsterdam, which she did. Eventually Simon asked her to move in with him and gave her a budget to find them a apartment together.

Pernilla Sjoholm also met Simon on Tinder, and began traveling and partying together, not really finding a romantic connection but both enjoyed the luxury lifestyle. A short time later, Simon began dating a woman named Paulina and all three of them spent time traveling together to various expensive and exotic locations. Simon ultimately conned Cecilie out of $250,000 incrementally that was used while he was traveling and partying with Pernilla and Pauline.

Ayleen Charlotte had been dating Simon for 14 months when she saw the VG article online with Cecilie and Pernilla titled “The Tinder Swindler” and immediately questioned Simon as she too was looking for a home to share with Simon. Ayleen compared the videos and texts she got from Simon to those posted online and they were identical. Simon was reported to the police in at least seven different countries, but was difficult to catch as he was traveling so often, so Cecilie and Pernilla outed him on dozens of news outlets and podcasts, basically anyone who would listen.

It was discovered that it was a Ponzi scheme where Simon was using the money he was squeezing out of his last victim to pay for the luxury travel and lifestyle he was sharing with his current victim. Simon used the same texts, photos and videos in sequence like a formula to gradually con each woman he met online. Ayleen was able to help authorities capture Simon in Isreal, but he only served 5 months and is out now somehow again living in luxury.

Runtime: 1h 54m

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