'Jewish Indiana Jones' in court over lost Torahs crusade
Friday 26 August 2011
A self-styled "Jewish Indiana Jones" who claimed he criss-crossed the globe rescuing Torahs is to face fraud charges after authorities said he duped benefactors by fabricating dramatic stories about sometimes dangerous trips. Court papers say that 50-year-old Menachem Youlus carried out the fraud from at least 2004 until last year, pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars through the "Save a Torah" charity he co-founded in 2004 as a not-for-profit organisation.
He is accused of passing off Torahs he bought from US dealers to synagogues and congregations nationwide, sometimes at inflated rates. It is alleged that he put nearly one-third of the $1.2m (£735,000) collected by the group into his personal accounts and on personal expenses. More than $1m was forwarded by the charity to the accounts of Mr Youlus's bookshop.
The publicly stated mission of the charity was to locate and acquire Torahs that survived the Holocaust. But investigators say there are no facts to support claims that Mr Youlus rescued an "Auschwitz Torah" in Poland in 2004 or discovered a Torah in 2002 that had been hidden during the Second World War at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany.
A review of travel records showed that Mr Youlus did not travel to Poland in 2004 and that he didn't travel internationally from early 2001 to August 2004, when he claimed to have made the trip to Germany. Mr Youlus's lawyer, Paul Rooney, said: "We deny this accusation, and anything else we have to say will be said in court."
Harry Potter actor suffered 'severe flu-like symptoms' on a flight from London to Orlando
Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck
World cities ranked in terms of safety, food security and 'liveability'
First full-length look is finally here
"Oink! Oink! Hee hee hee!" First interview with the big-screen star
Biohacking group hopes technology will lead people to think about even more dystopian uses
The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
Woman falls to her death as she celebrates marriage proposal at the edge of Ibiza cliff
Mia Khalifa: Pornhub star claims Drake sent her 'cringeworthy' naked photos on Instagram
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
Ball pool for adults opens in London
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£10670 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...
£36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Regional Gas Installation Manager is r...
£29000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Service and Brea...
Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is a two form entry primary schoo...