A man from Hampshire has recently been found guilty of defrauding a woman he met on the dating app, Tinder. His conviction comes just weeks after the release of the Netflix documentary ‘Tinder Swindler’, the true story an Israeli conman who defrauds his dates out of £7.4million.

Online Fraud

If you are accused of fraud – be it online fraud or otherwise – you need a fraud solicitor on your side. Contact us now at Ashmans Solicitors for expert legal representation. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

High-profile Tinder fraud convictions

Tinder is a popular dating app available in nearly 200 hundred countries. It has 50 million users and an average of 1.6 billion ‘swipes’ per day. This is a vast audience, and as two high-profile cases have recently shown, it can be used as a platform for fraud.

The first is that of Richard Dexter, who met Amrita Sebastian on the Tinder dating app in 2015. Dexter shared “intimate information” to gain her trust. He said he was a multi-millionaire and boasted about his wealth, claiming to own private jets and a hot air balloon. Dexter then convinced Ms Sebastian that he needed money for a patent catalogue. She found him “believable and credible” so handed over £40,000. Dexter subsequently conned her out of another £68,000. He claimed he was on the verge of a £12million licensing deal with a biopharmaceutical company, but needed the money for an upfront investment.

The police were alerted to Dexter’s actions and searched his property. They found a fake licencing agreement on a USB stick, created from a US legal documents website. Police also found an investment report on his laptop, falsely claiming to have assets worth £4m. In February 2022, Dexter admitted to seven counts of fraud. He had previously been found guilty of perverting the course of justice and possession of articles for use in fraud. Portsmouth Crown Court sentenced him to four and a half years’ imprisonment.

The Tinder Swindler

Dexter’s conviction comes just weeks after the release of the Netflix documentary ‘Tinder Swindler’. The documentary reveals the true story of Shimon Heyada Hayut, aka Simon Leviev, from Israel. He met multiple women on Tinder and fooled them into thinking he was the son of a billionaire diamond merchant. He would woo them with lavish gifts and take them on expensive dates – all funded by money he had obtained from other victims. At some point in the ‘relationship’, he would claim to be in danger, sending photos of his injured bodyguards to support his story. Hayut would then ask the women to open a credit card for him to use as it wasn’t safe to use his own. He would use the cards but make excuses and threats to avoid repayment. This was a tactic he employed time and time again. In total, he scammed his victims out of £7.4million.

Hayut was arrested and convicted of fraud in Israel in 2019. He was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment.

Online fraud and civil proceedings

Online fraud can also result in civil proceedings, as shown by the case brought by Harkirat Assi. Assi developed an online relationship with a man she believed to be called Bobby back in 2010. This ‘relationship’ continued for years, with ‘Bobby’ sending her flowers and setting up fake Facebook profiles for his family. The deception was finally discovered in 2018 when Assi’s younger cousin confessed that she had been masquerading as Bobby all along. In 2021, Assi won a civil claim against her cousin. The court ordered an apology and the payment of a financial settlement.

Other types of online fraud

The Assi case is an example of catfishing. Catfishing is when someone uses a fictional online persona to lure another person into a relationship. This may be motivated by financial gain or other sinister reasons. Another type of online fraud is malware. This is when a person is directed to a scam web page and puts in their personal information, resulting in identity theft.

Online Fraud and Criminal Convictions

As the above examples show, online fraud can and does result in criminal convictions. These cases are complicated, especially if the fraud takes place across different countries. This raises issues as to which country (or ‘jurisdiction’) the defendant should face charges in.

At Ashmans Solicitors, we have a dedicated team of fraud and financial crime lawyers. We are experts in our field and have secured a number of acquittals in high-profile fraud cases. If you have been accused of fraud or a financial crime, we are best placed to help you.

Call us on 0333 009 6275. We are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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