TV & Movies
Where Is Pernilla Sjoholm From The Tinder Swindler Today?
The Netflix true-crime documentary recounts Sjoholm’s faux friendship with Simon Leviev.
Netflix’s latest entry into the growing canon of documentaries about scammers centers on billionaire playboy Simon Leviev, a con artist living off others’ money. The heroes of the Felicity Morris-helmed film, called The Tinder Swindler, are the European women he defrauded, namely Pernilla Sjoholm, Cecilie Fjellhøy, and Ayleen Charlotte. When he claimed his life was in danger, each woman gave him tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars of their own money, reminding viewers that no one is too smart to get sucked into an abusive relationship. The women are smart and sympathetic, which makes their eventual triumph over Leviev all the more delicious. (He was arrested by Interpol and Israel Police in 2019, before the filming of the documentary.)
Unlike Fjellhøy and Charlotte’s relationship with Leviev, Sjoholm’s was neither romantic nor sexual, making it, in some ways, the most unexpected. Although they did initially meet on Tinder, the two hit it off as friends rather than paramours. When Leviev claimed his “enemies” were threatening his life and shared photos of injuries his bodyguard sustained — a strategy he used with all three women — Sjoholm gave him money and paid for plane tickets for him. But once she discovered his lie, she quickly became set on taking him down and collaborated with Norwegian publication VG to capture footage and audio of him. While she was hurt by Leviev’s duplicity, The Tinder Swindler presents her as a formidable woman: “I’m a very independent woman. I always have been, I’ve done that since the age of 16,” she explains in the film’s introduction. “I don’t need a man to take care of me.”
Sjoholm and Fjellhøy both gave interviews discussing their experience after the publication of the first bombshell story about Leviev, but after that initial wave of publicity, Sjoholm has kept a low profile. Currently, she works in sales and marketing at a high-end coffee distributor, and regularly posts photos of international travel on her public Instagram. Last summer, she and Fjellhøy traveled to Greece together. She also recently traveled to London, where Fjellhøy lives, and posted more photos of them.
In 2020, after Leviev was prematurely released from jail after serving five months of his 15-month sentence for fraud charges, Israel’s Channel 12 reached out to Sjoholm for comment. “I was in shock from the decision to release him,” she told the channel, according to the Times of Israel. “I’m really disappointed by [Israel’s] justice system which gives a man like that a reduced sentence. He deceived people and left prison after five months? Did you go crazy in Israel? ... How can you give trust to a man like that, who escaped from Israel twice? A man that deceived and swindled women in Europe for hundreds of thousands of euros. Where is the justice?” (This interview was originally published in Hebrew; the Times translated it into English.)