Thursday, August 25, 2011

"Jewish Indiana Jones" Reined In

File this one under "bizarre but true."  Menachem Youlus, a self-proclaimed "Jewish Indiana Jones" who co-founded a Jewish charity to rescue Torah scrolls, has been arrested according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.  Youlus will be prosecuted in New York City on charges of defrauding donors of hundreds thousands of dollars.

According to the charges against him, Youlus made up accounts that his charity, Save a Torah, found Torahs in Europe.  These scrolls were said to have been lost or hidden during the Holocaust, and the charity claimed to have found some in concentration camps.  Youlus used these stories to get money for Save a Torah, which raised $1.2 million between 2004 and 2010.  To make matters worse for him, he is accused of embezzling $145,000 of those funds to the personal bank accounts of his Maryland business, the Jewish Book Store. 

But wait, there's more!  Youlus was also said to have claimed that Torahs he bought from dealers were rescued, using those claims to submit inflated and doctored invoices to his charity.  This allowed him to be reimbursed at a far higher price than he actually paid for the scrolls.  If convicted, Youlus will face up to 20 years in prison.  No word as of yet if he claimed to have found the Holy Grail.

You can read the full article of this bizarre story in The Wall Street Journal.

No comments: