Jewish Indiana Jones faces jail after admitting to $1m fraud
Saturday 04 February 2012
A charity co-founder who claimed he travelled the world as a "Jewish Indiana Jones" to rescue Torahs has pleaded guilty to fraud charges, admitting that he lied about his exploits.
Menachem Youlus, the owner of the Jewish Bookstore in Maryland, entered the plea to mail and wire fraud charges in the US District Court in Manhattan. A plea deal with prosecutors called for him to serve up to five years and three months in prison. He will be sentenced on 21 June.
"I know what I did was wrong, and I deeply regret my conduct," Youlus, 50, said as he described the lies he told between 2004 and 2010 to obtain funds from his Save a Torah charity. Prosecutors said he defrauded the charity and its donors out of $862,000.
The government said he fabricated detailed accounts of exploits to recover Torahs lost or hidden during the Holocaust, including at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland and the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany. During his plea, he said his lies included telling prospective buyers that he had personally retrieved parts of one scroll from a metal box at Auschwitz.
A criminal complaint said Youlus had distributed Torahs he bought from US dealers to synagogues and congregations nationwide, sometimes at inflated rates. He put nearly a third of the $1.2 m collected by the charity into his personal accounts, spending some of it on private school tuition for his children and on personal expenses, including meals and health care.
The publicly stated mission of the charity was to locate and acquire Torahs that survived the Holocaust. But the authorities said Youlus rarely travelled abroad during the years he had claimed to go Torah hunting.
- 1 Double chins could be 'cured' without surgery or dieting using new injection
- 2 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 3 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 4 Thank heavens for Louise Mensch and her foul-mouthed tweets to world leaders
- 5 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Greece elections: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras takes aim at 'neo-liberal' Europe as country gears up for prolonged austerity battle
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Chilling drone footage captures Auschwitz ahead of 70th anniversary of liberation
Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
£125 - £150 per day + Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: A 'wonderful primary ...
£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: Our client is an 11-16 mixed commun...
£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly developing company in...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Application Architect/Developer - Peterborough, Cam...