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17th Feb 2022

Tinder Swindler’s ‘first victim’ was left to rot in cockroach-infested cell

Danny Jones

Tinder Swindler victim recalls being left to rot in a prison

The Brit says she was just 19 when Hayut left her to rot in a cell

A woman claiming to be not only a Tinder Swindler victim – but his very first – has revealed how the psychological fraudster, real name Shimon Hayut, left her to rot in a cockroach-infested prison for “three weeks”.

Speaking to The Sun, 31-year-old Courtney Simmonds-Miller from Cambridge was living and working in Cyprus with her grandparents when she first met the Israeli conman, also known as Simon Leviev.

Leviev’s story was recently told in Netflix documentary The Tinder Swindler, which chronicled his years spent pretending to be a jet-setting millionaire in order to impress women and ultimately convince them to lend him money from credit cards opened in their name.

The two met while they were both working at a Limassol shopping centre back in 2008 and soon became friends. They would go drinking and dancing after work, with Simmonds-Miller acting as his wingman in clubs as he tried to hook up with women.

At the time, Leviev claimed he had no money but as the two grew closer, he revealed to the then-19-year-old that he was a “secret millionaire”.

Spinning a yarn about how his dad sent him to Cyprus to work a low-paying job and learn the value of money, he said he was now due to come into his inheritance and wanted to set up a business, with Simmonds-Miller acting as his personal assistant.

Now a close confidante, Simmonds-Miller admitting that she was “100 per cent under his spell” and thought he was her “soulmate in friend form”.

However only a few months later, Simmonds-Miller ended up being arrested by Cypriot police, strip-searched, interrogated and locked up in horrific conditions after she was accused of credit card fraud – all crimes that Hayut was responsible for.

“I spent three weeks in custody. The cell was disgusting, there were cockroaches everywhere. There were no doors on the showers or toilets and the loo itself was just a hole in the floor”, says Simmonds-Miller.

Beyond turning up to numerous cancelled ‘business meetings’ to take notes, the unfortunate young woman got caught up in Hayut’s web after she was asked to hire him a BMW for business meetings, reading the details out over the phone whilst she dealt with a car salesman directly.

The details were later flagged as stolen and the pair were arrested. While Courtney was strip-searched, “shoved around” and forced to bunk with “proper criminals”, Leviev managed to secure bail from a local rabbi and flee the country.

Courtney was threatened with years in prison. To keep her out of jail, her grandmother had to hand over her house and thousands in cash. It was two years before she was finally acquitted; the whole ordeal cost her family £14,200.

Her story is one of several women across the globe who were scammed out of their money. A GoFundMe has since been set up to help the Tinder Swindler victims recoup some of their money and get their lives back on track.

You can see the trailer for the full Netflix documentary down below:

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