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OYE! “Jewish Indiana Jones” Busted in “Save a Torah” Scam

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

OYE!

A man who billed himself as the “Jewish Indiana Jones”, and was the co-founder of “Save a Torah” charity, was arrested Wednesday by federal authorities on charges of defrauding donors of hundreds of thousands of dollars, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan announced.

Authorities alleged that Manachem Youlus purported to “rescue” Torah scrolls lost or hidden during the Holocaust. A Torah is a holy scroll that connsists of the first five books of the Jewish scriptures.

Authorities alleged that Youlus, 50, of Wheaton, Md.,  duped the charity by fabricating detailed accounts of having found Torahs lost or hidden during the Holocaust in Europe, including in Auschwitz and the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, and in other places around the world.  In some instances, authorities said, he simply bought torahs from other torah dealers.

He then used the false information to solicit  contributions to Save a Torah. He then embezzled the donations by diverting them into his personal accounts, the U.S. Attorney’s Office alleged. The charity lists an address in Rockville, Md., a suburb of D.C.

“Menachem Youlus called himself the ‘Jewish Indiana Jones,’ but his alleged exploits were no more real than those of the movie character he claimed to resemble,” Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

“He chose poorly in allegedly exploiting an excruciating chapter in Jewish and international history to perpetrate a brazen fraud that played on the heartstrings of thepeople for whom the painful memories of that period will never die.”

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