A YOUNG woman who was conned out of £165,000 by a Tinder swindler posing as the 'Prince of Diamonds' has told how the ordeal sent her spiralling into debt and a psychiatric hospital.
Cecilie Fjellhoy, a 29-year-old Norwegian graduate student living in London, matched with a man purporting to be Simon Leviev, the 29-year-old son of an Israeli billionaire, over Tinder.
The high-flying Tinder match seemed to live a life of luxury on private jets, frequenting gourmet restaurants and staying in five-star hotels.
He called himself the 'Prince of Diamonds' – a diamond dealer who travelled the world for work.
Cecilie said she quickly fell for the mysterious stranger, soon after their first date on a private plane to Bulgaria.
DEBT & DECEPTION
The relationship continued with grand romantic genstures over text, video and voice messages.
Speaking to ABC's Nightline, she explained: "This was the first time where I felt like: 'Oh my god I really like him. And it seems that he really likes me back as well'".
Soon into the relationship, Cecilie was asked to open a line of credit in her name as a security measure to "protect" her new boyfriend by giving her name "as a cover".
This was because the diamond business was "dangerous", Cecilie said, and he needed to be able to pay his expenses and protect himself from enemies.
She explained: "One of the main reasons why he needed it was protection…he needed my name as a cover, he said.
"I know it sounds crazy…[but] why would he have this giant guy with him if he didn't need the protection?"
It also explained why the pair were unable to meet regularly in London as the 'diamond dealer' said he was under surveillance and needed to travel constantly for work.
Cecilie said she was instructed to fill out documents for an American Express platinum card, reporting her income as £200,000.
She took out huge loans for the card amid promises she would be paid back.
But the diamond millionaire was really Shimon Hayut, a convicted conman who had already spent three years in a Finnish jail for conning millions of dollars our of other Scandinavian women.
He spent Cecilie's money to fund his lavish lifestyle and buy plane tickets, holidays in hotels, lavish dinners and to pay his assistants and bodyguard.
The scam then attracted more women who were lured into the same cycle of deception and debt.
According to Norwegian news site Verdens Gang, Hayut spent two million Norwegian krone (£165,000) in just 54 days.
I was just a string of four or five women. I wanted to throw up. Everything came crashing down at once.
When Hayut's lies were finally exposed, Cecilie said she "wanted to throw up".
"I was just a string of four or five women. I wanted to throw up," she told ABC Nightline.
"Everything came crashing down at once.
"I hate him, he's so horrible.
"I am just tired of crying about this, you know? It's just so painful. I just hate myself that I did this.
"I had to be put into a psychiatric ward because of suicidal thoughts. I didn't see a way out.
"You've lost your boyfriend but he didn't just dump you, he never existed, he was never your boyfriend."
Hayut was arrested in Greece in June for using a false passport following a joint operation between Interpol and Israeli police.
Israeli authorities have requested his extradition to his home country, where he has been wanted on charges of theft, forgery and fraud since 2011, the Times of Israel reported.
Outside of court Hayut told reporters: "I will go back to Israel, [which] is my home country, and I will face what is waiting for me there and that's it, and we will sort everything out. [Whatever] problems that we have, we will sort it out in court."
And in a message sent to ABC's Nightline, he said: "There is nothing here just [a] loan between friends that went south…
"She agreed to loan me the money and then she disappeared… before we [were]able to pay back…
"They used me for my life, they got expensive gifts and everything … in other words gold diggers.
"When I ask help they agreed to help and they know that I have some problems I didn’t run from no one it's all fake news and lies."
Hayut is also under investigation for fraud in the UK, Sweden, the Netherlands, and Germany.
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