The Tinder Swindler trailer
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The so-called “Tinder Swindler” has denied pretending to be a medical worker to get a Covid vaccine early.

Simon Leviev, or Shimon Hayut, earned the 'Tinder Swindler' moniker after a Netflix documentary allegedly exposed how the Israeli scam artist was at the centre of a large Ponzi scheme in which he bagged an estimated £7.4m.

In December 2020 he uploaded a video showing him receiving the vaccine at a time when they were only being given out to medical workers, those aged over 60, and at-risk groups.

Channel 12’s report stated that Hayut was supposedly initially turned away from the Clalit health maintenance organisation in the city of Bnei Brak at first, but he waited outside the entrance. When he spotted a group of medical workers making their way in, he apparently joined them and purported to be a paramedic.

No one checked his credentials at the time.

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A statement from the vaccination centre, republished byThe Times of Israel, claimed that he “presented himself as a medical worker”.

They said: “The person was vaccinated after he presented himself as a medical worker.

“As soon as it became clear that it was an impersonation, we began to investigate the incident, including refreshing instructions on the matter.

“It is regrettable that there are people who are harming the trust shown by staff and we condemn this act.”

But Hayut told Channel 12 that he has medical conditions that mean he is at risk from the virus. This was disputed by Channel 12, but it’s unclear how they would have attempted to fact-check his private medical information.

The Times of Israel reports that he told Channel 12: “I am not someone who waits in line or at places.

“With all due respect, I will not sit and wait 3-4 hours. I am not someone who waits and no one can say a word about it.”

He also batted away the claims that he pretended to be a medic, branding the allegation “a lie”.

“I am a businessman. I have money. I can buy anyone or anything that I want,” he said.

He was then apparently asked if he paid to be vaccinated. He responded: “Let’s say yes. I had an appointment [to be vaccinated], perhaps there was a bug in the computer. This is a third world country, after all.”

He then reportedly claimed to have helped bring vaccines to Israel but didn’t elaborate on how.

Hayut has a previous string of charges related to fraud and has had previous stints in jail.

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