Three women featured in the Netflix documentary “The Tinder Swindler” have launched a GoFundMe crowdfunding campaign to help them clear their debts. Cecilie Fjellhøy, Pernilla Sjoholm and Ayleen Charlotte were all victims of the eponymous swindler, an Israeli man named Shimon Hayut who allegedly conned women on Tinder out of millions of dollars by catfishing them into believing his name was “Simon Leviev” and that he was the son of Israeli diamond tycoon Lev Leviev. “The Tinder Swindler” started streaming Feb. 2 on Netflix.
“You’re probably here because you’ve heard about our story, and we appreciate you taking the time to search and find this page,” the women write on GoFundMe. “The past few days have been a whirlwind, and we three (Ayleen, Pernilla and Cecilie) have been completely shocked and floored by the flood of compassion and support from everyone. The sheer love is more than we ever expected, and we appreciate you all so much.”
“After careful consideration, and many chats, we have decided to start this GoFundMe fundraiser. So many people reached out to us asking if we had one, and it hadn’t occurred to us to make one prior to this,” the women add. “However, we’ve spotted plenty of fakes, which makes us uneasy. We don’t want more people getting defrauded. We realize there are a thousand other worthy causes to donate to, and remain forever grateful if you choose to donate to this one. All we want are our lives back.”
The women have set a crowdfunding goal of around £600,000 (around $812,000). Over its first three days, the fund has raised over £38,138 and counting (roughly $52,000) from 1,800 donations.
The women noted, “Shimon Heyada Hayut (who came to us under the pseudonym and fake personality of ‘Simon Leviev’) and his team of professional con artists, have defrauded all three of us for large sums of money. If you have the opportunity to help we are forever grateful, but knowing that you’ve even checked out this page in solidarity means the world to us.”
When “The Tinder Swindler” was released earlier this month on Netflix, it reported that Hayut was still active on Tinder. The dating app company announced Feb. 4 it had panned Hayut from the platform, adding it had “conducted internal investigations” and that he is “no longer active on Tinder under any of his known aliases.”
According to NME, Hayut deactivated his Instagram after “The Tinder Swindler” began streaming on Netflix but not before posting about how he would eventually tell his side of the story. Hayut reportedly said, “It’s high time the ladies start saying the truth.”
“The Tinder Swindler” is now streaming on Netflix.