A young Israeli woman appeared in a television interview on Friday as the latest victim of Israeli scammer Shimon Hayut, known as “The Tinder Scammer,” despite a popular Netflix true crime documentary this year with the same name that documented his alleged systematic scam on romantic partners.
Iren Tranov, 25, from the southern city of Ofakim, told Channel 13 news that she had seen the documentary, but when Hayut approached her, she convinced her that the claims against her were lies.
“He went through with me all the women who had complained about him, and each one told me how he was lying and how he was right,” she told the network. “He doesn’t look like a criminal looking for a mark.”
Tranov said he told Hayut that he wanted to replace his car. “He said ‘I’ll help you, we’ll order it and I’ll give you a car at a better price because I’m your boyfriend,'” he told the network.
According to Channel 13, Hayut told Tranov that he was a partner in a car import company and would get him a new BMW luxury car at a lower price than what could be found on the market.
However, Hayut demanded that Tranov wire the money to him and instructed him on how to take out loan after loan from various companies, similar to the tactics detailed in the documentary.
Tranov said he transferred a sum of about NIS 450,000 ($130,000) to Hayut over several days, and he handed her a different vehicle in the meantime, saying he would work to get the one she wanted.
The vehicle turned out to be seized and registered under someone else’s name, Channel 13 said. “The vehicle is not in my name and I don’t have the money,” Tranov said.
Tranov said that she demanded that Hayut pay her back, but he stalled. Eventually, he gave her a check for NIS 450,000, but it bounced only a few days later. The check was signed by another woman, presumably another victim of Hayut.
Miri Friedman, an attorney representing the second victim, said the stories were “identical.”
“He knew [the second woman] on social media After six months of dating, he asked her for a check as a deposit. He told her: ‘It won’t be charged, don’t worry.’ She gave him her check and he deposited it in [Tranov’s] counts,” Friedman said.
“I thought the problem was that the car was not in my name,” Tranov said. “When I saw the check bounce, I realized I was in much bigger trouble.”
She said that Hayut started to threaten her because of the car that she still had in her hands. During a court hearing on another case against her, Hayut claimed that Tranov had stolen the vehicle.
“He knew he was ruining my life,” she said.
Hayut, now known for being the son of El Al airline’s chief rabbi Yohanan Hayut, was at the center of a nearly two-hour documentary directed by Felicity Morris that told the stories of several women whose hearts and wallets he captured. The scammer introduced himself as Simon Leviev, son of Russian-Israeli diamond magnate Lev Leviev.
Hayut would meet Scandinavian women on Tinder, lead them to believe that he was the son of the fabulously wealthy Leviev, and begin long-distance relationships with them, eventually conning them out of large sums of money.
The events of the film end before Hayut’s sentencing and trial, as he was returned to Israel in 2017 to be recharged and sentenced, but assumed a different identity and fled the country.
Israel declared him a fugitive and he was eventually extradited in 2019, convicted and sentenced to 15 months in prison. He was released after five months. He had previously served two and a half years in a Finnish prison after being found guilty of defrauding three women.
In April, it was reported that Hayut was wanted in Spain for a 2019 incident in which he allegedly presented a forged Israeli driver’s license to police.