How a Tinder conman swindled a Norwegian student out of $200k

When a Tinder-browsing Norwegian student swiped right on a handsome Israeli man, she had no idea the romance would break both her heart and her bank account.

Cecilie Fjellhoy, 29, was studying towards her Masters degree in London when she matched with a 28-year-old who called himself Simon Leviev, and claimed to be the son of billionaire diamond merchant Lev Leviev.

Their extravagant first date seemed to back up his claim, with Leviev flying them both to Bulgaria on a private plane. He told Fjellhoy he was a diamond dealer and a millionaire in his own right, calling himself the 'Prince of Diamonds'.

"I was texting my friends at the same time like in a group chat just like, 'I don't know what's going on,'" Fjellhoy told ABC News.

Leviev said his work required constant travel, so they began a long-distance relationship which became very intense very quickly. Romantic texts and video calls were exchanged and Leviev flew Fjellhoy out to his various locations in a private jet.

Fjellhoy told ABC her boyfriend claimed he was always in danger because of the nature of his job, and even sent her photos of himself in hospital after he was allegedly attacked.

Just weeks into the relationship, Leviev asked Fjellhoy to take out a new credit card so he could spend money under her name as "protection" from his supposed enemies. He promised he would pay her back for any plane tickets, hotels or dinner reservations he made, and claimed he needed a lot of money to take care of his "entire team".

Believing his business was legitimate, she agreed - but soon she was taking out thousands in loans to pay for Leviev's jet-setting lifestyle. Her bank statements revealed he was buying Louboutins in Bangkok and rooms at the Ritz in Berlin.

Over the month of March 2018, Leviev spent more than US$75,000 (NZ$114,000) - more than half of which came from Fjellhoy. He kept asking for "just one more week" to repay her, but she never saw any money.

Eventually she realised she was being played by the man she loved.

"I almost wanted to throw up," she told ABC News. "It was the first time in my life that I had gotten such a shock that my body physically was telling me that, 'Okay your life is ruined'. Everything came crashing down around me."

She filed a police report and discovered that Leviev's real name was Shimon Hyuat, a convicted conman who previously served three years in a Finnish prison for defrauding women to fund his glamorous lifestyle. The Daily Mail reports he is currently wanted in Israel on more fraud charges.

Leviev (or Hyuat) told ABC he's innocent of the allegations, and claims he's been taken advantage of by "gold diggers" who run off after he buys them expensive gifts.

Fjellhoy said he ultimately scammed her out of more than US$140,000 (NZ$213,000). Discovering the fraud distressed her so much she ended up in the psychiatric ward of a hospital, and still struggles to trust people.

"You've lost your boyfriend, but he didn't just dump you - he never existed," she told ABC News. "It's just so painful. I just hate myself that I did this."