We check in on the king of revenge porn, the Tinder Swindler, and the Fyre Festival fraudster.
Today’s zeitgeist is thick with true crime documentaries. People just cannot get enough of them. Why is that? Maybe we like to marvel at the loathsome, evil plans sociopaths can think up. Maybe we want to learn so that particular scam never happens to us. Or maybe we just like interesting real-life stories. Whatever the case, when The Most Hated Man on the Internet splashed onto Netflix, it immediately hit the top 10.
The story of Hunter Moore and his revenge porn site, with some hacking thrown in for good measure, captured the world’s attention. But where is Moore now? We looked into some of the most notorious internet scammers to see what they did, where they are now, and how you can watch their stories.
What he did: Hunter Moore started the revenge porn site isanyoneup.com about 10 years ago. Users were encouraged to upload nude photos of their ex to be ridiculed and insulted by visitors to the site. Moore called himself a “professional life ruiner,” and repeatedly claimed to have no remorse about it.
The website stayed up for 16 months until an internet watchdog convinced Moore to sell it. It was then learned that Moore had been paying an accomplice to hack into people’s computers and steal any compromising photos to post them on the site. Moore served two and a half years in prison for his crimes.
What he’s doing now: Released in 2017, Moore now seems to be living a more low-key life. According to GoodtoKnow, he is banned from Facebook but continues to post on Twitter, showing photos of his gym workouts, his dog, and continually talking about how rich he is. (Moore claims to have $3 million in the bank.) A quick check on Twitter at the time of this publication, however, shows Moore’s account has been suspended.
See the doc: The Most Hated Man on the Internet, a three-part docuseries on Netflix.
What he did: As seen in the documentary, Shimon Heyada Hayut, who used many fake names including Simon Leviev, took advantage of people through lies and deceit, making off with their money in a variety of scams. One of these was posing as a diamond billionaire, wooing victims on expensive dates for about a month before telling them that his “enemies” were after him and that he couldn’t use his credit cards anymore because they could be traced.
After convincing numerous women that he loved them, he asked them to register credit cards in their name for him. It’s estimated he defrauded victims out of $10 million total. Though Hayut pled guilty to fraud and was sentenced to 15 months of prison in Israel, he was released after just serving five.
What he’s doing now: Hayut was banned from dating apps but has become an Instagram influencer, somehow managing to live what seems to be a glamorous life again. But according to Fortune, he is beset by legal and financial woes. The real Leviev family is suing him in a string of lawsuits, and Hayut himself fell for a Instagram scam that tricked him out of $7,000.
See the doc: The Tinder Swindler on Netflix.
What he did: In 2017, entrepreneur-cum-conman Billy McFarland was working with Ja Rule on an app called Fyre, which was supposed to work like an Uber for booking talent, allowing ordinary people to pay to have supermodels or musicians attend their parties. To promote the app, McFarland shot a promo in the Bahamas, featuring supermodels on a superyacht, teasing a VIP music festival that would be the party to end all parties.
He paid influencers to plug the festival and quickly sold thousands of tickets. In the weeks leading up to the event, however, he just could not pull it together. Guests who paid for a $12,000 VIP package arrived in the Bahamas expecting luxury accommodations and gourmet meals but instead got a disaster relief tent and two pieces of toast with two slices of cheese. In 2018, McFarland was sentenced to six years in prison for fraud.
What he’s doing now: Earlier this year, McFarland was released early from his sentence and moved to a halfway house in New York. He is due to be released from the halfway house at the end of August. Billboard reported that McFarland’s attorney said McFarland is “solely focused on repaying the roughly $26 million he owes in restitution for his crimes.”
See the docs: Fyre, the Greatest Party That Never Happened on Netflix and Fyre Fraud on Hulu.
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