Transcript of the video
The French Tinder scammer was sentenced to two years in prison last week. Here's the story.
Welcome to another episode of Learn French with News.
As usual, I'm going to tell you the facts and explain the vocabulary you need to know to understand the news.
Of course, you can download the vocabulary sheet by clicking on the link in the description of this video.
You may already have heard of Simon Leviev.
He's famous for seducing women with the dating app Tinder and, more importantly, scamming them.
He even got his own documentary on Netflix.
As you'd expect, and unfortunately, he's not the only one using dating apps to swindle women, to swindle people.
Scamit means to rip someone off, to steal from someone.
For many years, a 32-year-old Frenchman from the north of France called Aurélien had been approaching women on dating websites.
"Approachmeans to go and talk to someone, to accost someone.
All these years, he used false identities to seduce them.
His aim was to live off them and extort money from them.
Living off someoneIt means that you are financially dependent on one person. This person pays everything for you.
And extort moneymeans stealing money.
He is said to have swindled at least a dozen women in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.
In fact, this man had already been known to the police since he was 14.
He was known for fraud, receiving stolen goods and theft.
Before telling you the story for which he was tried and convicted last week, let's first go back to 2019.
In 2019, he's in his car and about to be stopped by a policeman on a traffic circle.
As you know, the French love traffic circles. He's going to be stopped at a traffic circle in Fréjus. It's a town on the Côte d'Azur, in the South of France.
He's stopped for a simple identity check, a check on his papers, and the policeman finds his behavior a little strange.
He's in his car with his girlfriend, who's about 30 years older than him.
He tells the policeman that he's American-Swiss, so he's half American, half Swiss, and that he doesn't have his papers because they were stolen a few days earlier.
He also says he was on his way to the police station to lodge a complaint about the theft of his identity papers.
He starts talking a lot. He will give an age, his age, which, according to the policeman, is not very coherent.
It doesn't make much sense.
He looks much younger than he says he is. He also tells the police that he will soon be leaving for Antwerp in Belgium to buy diamonds.
The policeman begins to think he's talking nonsense and takes him to the station to check his identity.
At the time, Aurelien's name was James. The policeman checked his fingerprints. Fingerprints are fingerprints.
And obviously, his profile is going to match up, is going to match up with a man already convicted in 2014, but above all with a man who is wanted by the police for two prison sentences.
He'll go to prison, but he'll only stay there a few months, as he'll be helped by his girlfriend, who'll do everything she can to get him out quickly.
Despite the police trying to warn her, she's completely under James' thumb.
And she can't believe the deception.
Being under-appreciatedmeans you're under someone's influence.
We're blinded by what a person tells us, or by the love we have for someone.
And so we're ready to believe anything. And a deception is a scam. It's a false reality that someone has invented.
Barely out of prison, Aurelien, alias James, makes off with the woman's credit cards and valuables.
These blue cardsThese are bank cards, Visa cards, for example, and valuables. These are objects that cost money, such as jewelry, watches and bags.
This woman will be too ashamed to file a complaint against him.
To be ashamedIt means we're embarrassed by a situation.
This can be the case with scams and swindles.
People are ashamed of having been tricked, so they don't press charges.
As soon as he's out of prison, he'll be back at it too. On dating sites, he'll go by Charles-Édouard, Charles-Henry or Charles-Robert.
Sometimes he comes from a wealthy Swiss family who owns a hotel group.
Sometimes he's a diplomat, representing one country in another.
And sometimes, he's a New York lawyer with a Harvard degree.
Whatever the story, whatever his profession, of course he's rich, he's very rich, he's a millionaire.
He will also tell us that he has Asperger's disease.
It's a form of autism.
This man is what we call in French a "beau parleur", someone who knows how to use words to flirt and win people over. So he expresses himself very well and manages to "reel" its victims.
Rewind it's a colloquial French word meaning to convince someone with lies, to deceive someone by lying.
You could also say that he has bagou. To have bagou in French means to express oneself well, very well.
But fortunately, some victims have had the courage to lodge a complaint.
So now I'm going to tell you the story for which he was tried last week before the Paris Criminal Court, and for which he was convicted.
Last May, as Charles-Édouard Kapla Schneider, he was on the dating app Bumble.
He's 37, a millionaire and a corporate lawyer in New York. Quite a profile, isn't it?
While passing through Belgium, he came across the profile of a Dutch girl from the Netherlands.
This young woman was in Belgium for the day, and when she was on her train back to Amsterdam, she received a message from Charles-Édouard.
They start chatting. Things are going well. In French, the expression "le courant passe bien" means they get on well, they get along well and things go well.
He soon went to Amsterdam to meet her and make a first date.
The word date, of course, comes from English, but it's increasingly used in French to refer to a romantic rendezvous.
They're in a bar, he's about to order a very expensive bottle and has €1,500 in cash.
Cash is cash. The young woman doesn't know it, but this money, of course, comes from his previous victim, whom he conned.
He'll go home with her after the date because it's going well, and in the end, he'll never leave again.
Anyway, for two months, he's staying with her and everything's going well.
They're very happy. They take him to nice restaurants. He's very thoughtful. He cleans her house.
All goes well. But as Charles-Edouard is a very big lawyer, he even tells her that he works with the American government, he sometimes has to make confidential calls, so secret calls, and he's going to ask her to leave the room.
Little by little, the young woman began to have her doubts.
Having doubts means losing confidence in someone. You're not quite sure what the person is telling you.
For example, he has a very poor level of English. She thinks yes, it's probably because of his Asperger's, but she still has her doubts.
But Charles-Édouard has more than one trick up his sleeve. More than one trick up your sleeveIt means being able to bounce back with another idea, to be resourceful.
He's going to propose to her, and he's offering to marry her not just anywhere, but in Monaco. He immediately calls a luxury hotel, of course, to reserve 60 rooms for the wedding.
The wedding date is set for September 21, 2023.
This reservation will cost €300,000.
The young woman had no doubts and was very happy. But what she doesn't know is that the next day, of course, her Charles-Édouard called the hotel to cancel the reservation behind her back.
He goes even further, taking her to an apartment costing over 10 million euros with the express intention of buying it.
But of course, during all this time, she's the one who looks after him. She buys his clothes, pays for his food and so on.
Looking after someoneThis means you're paying for everything for someone else.
This summer, he's going to take her away for a romantic weekend in Paris.
But during his stay, he'll run off with his phone, his computer and, of course, his credit cards.
The young woman filed a complaint and he was found two weeks later, guess where?
His next victim.
The trial of this case took place last week before the Paris Correctional Court, and he was sentenced to two years' imprisonment.
That means he has to stay behind bars for two years.
And the young woman received €10,000 for her moral and material damages.
But as you can imagine, other complaints have been lodged against Aurélien, and another trial is due to take place soon in Belgium.
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