Cecile Fjellhoy talks about her experience in "The Tinder Swindler." Photo Courtesy of Netflix
Feb. 9 (UPI) -- Millions of people have tuned in to watch Netflix's scintillating true-crime film, The Tinder Swindler, putting it in the streaming service's Top 10 list in 92 countries this month.
The incredible story is about several women's experiences with the charismatic "Simon Leviev," a too-good-to-be-true diamond heir they met on the dating app, Tinder. Simon teased the women with the promise of a luxurious, jet-setting lifestyle before asking them for enormous amounts of money to supposedly help him out of life-threatening danger, then ultimately disappearing with their cash.
Here are 5 other true crime stories about the lovelorn being duped by crooks and manipulators:
'The Puppet Master: Hunting the Ultimate Conman' -- Netflix
Released in January, the three-part series chronicles how Robert Freegard pretended to be a spy as he wooed women away from their families, then manipulated and controlled them, and drained their bank accounts. Some of his victims refused to cooperate with law enforcement because he convinced them the police were double agents who wanted to hurt them.
'Till Death Do Us Part: Lady Gucci: The Story of Patrizia Reggiani' -- Discovery+
The ambitious title character candidly recalls how she met and married her "one true love" Maurizio Gucci, then influenced his family's iconic fashion empire for years before he left her for another woman. Reggiani was convicted of hiring a hitman to kill her estranged spouse in 1995 because she felt he was cutting her and their two daughters out of his life and fortune. The salacious tale was also adapted as the 2021 drama film, House of Gucci, with Lady Gaga playing Patrizia and Adam Driver as Maurizio.
'Love Fraud' -- Showtime
Love Fraud, which premiered in August 2020, is a four-part docuseries that follows the search for Richard Scott Smith, a man who went by numerous different names and used the Internet and his charms to marry and steal money from unsuspecting women for 20 years. The victims ban together and hire a bounty hunter to bring Smith to justice.
'Seduced: Inside the NXIVM Cult' -- Starz
The four-part series explores NXIVM, which was released in October 2020, a self-help group serving as a front for a sex cult. Founder Keith Raniere was arrested and charged with sex trafficking and other crimes in 2018. At the center of this story is India Oxenberg, the daughter of Dynasty actress Catherine Oxenberg, one of more than 17,000 people who enrolled in NXIVM's "Executive Success Programs." Within NXIVM was DOS, a secret master-slave society in which women were sex-trafficked. The younger Oxenberg ultimately assisted the U.S. government in taking down Raniere and his criminal enterprise.
'We Stand Corrected - Dannemora' -- Amazon
The film, released in 2019, is from the perspective of the corrections officers whose lives have been impacted by the fallout of the 2015 escape of two convicted murderers from the Clinton Correctional Facility, New York State's largest maximum security prison, which led to a massive manhunt. This resulted in the death of escapee Richard Matt and the return to prison of David Sweat, but also the arrests of staffers Gene Palmer and Joyce Mitchell, who provided the tools the dangerous men used to tunnel out of the prison. The bizarre real-life story inspired a Showtime miniseries Escape at Dannemora, directed by Ben Stiller, which stars Patricia Arquette, Benicio Del Toro, Paul Dano and David Morse.