Jewish Rabbi Gets Prison For Holocaust Torah Fraud


Haredi “Indiana Jones” Sentenced To Prison For Holocaust Torah Fraud
Rabbi Menachem Youlus 2 closeup
Rabbi Menachem Youlus was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison today – the maximum sentence recommended under the US Sentencing Commission’s guidelines.
Rabbi Menachem Youlus 2

Rabbi Menachem Youlus

Haredi “Indiana Jones” Sentenced To Prison For Holocaust Torah Fraud
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com

U.S. District Judge Colleen McMahon sentenced Rabbi Menachem Youlus to 51 months in federal prison today – the maximum sentence recommended under the US Sentencing Commission’s guidelines.

Youlus pleaded guilty in February to defrauding donors who gave his charity hundreds of thousands of dollars to recover and restore ‘lost’ Torah scrolls that survived the Holocaust. But the supposed Holocaust Torahs were fakes, scrolls purchased by Youlus on the black market or from synagogues.

Actual Torah scrolls and fragments of Torah scrolls that survived the Holocaust do exist, but Youlus’s scrolls were not among them.

Youlus, who also owns a Jewish bookstore in Wheaton, Maryland, told donors he traveled the world to recover Torah scrolls lost or hidden during the Holocaust, including one he claimed to have recovered at Auschwitz and another from Bergen-Belsen.

“I guess you could call me the Jewish Indiana Jones,” Youlus once claimed.

But Youlus almost never traveled overseas during the years he said he was scouring Europe for Holocaust Torahs. Instead, he bought old Torah scrolls in North America, refurbished them, and then sold then as Holocaust Torahs to synagogues across America.

Some of the money Youlus raised from donors to support the “rescue” of the “Holocaust Torahs” was actually used to pay his children’s private school tuition and for personal expenses like his meals and health care.

Youlus’s attorney Ben Brafman told the Associated Press that Youlus had actually “squirreled away” most of the money he stole, and claimed that the victims would get back all of their money.

“I will carry that shame and dishonor with me for the rest of my life,” Youlus reportedly told the court today. “… I know I have lifetime of atonement ahead of me.”

Much of the next five years of that will be spent in a federal prison that is yet to be determined.

Jewish Con Man Admits Torah Fraud | He’s Only Sorry Because He Got Caught


‘Jewish Indiana Jones’ admits NY Torah fraud
Associated PressBy LARRY NEUMEISTER | Associated Press
FILE- In this Aug. 24, 2011 file photo, Menachem Youlus leaves federal court in New York after appearing on mail and wire fraud charges. Youlus, a Jewish charity co-founder who claimed he traveled the world as a "Jewish Indiana Jones" to rescue Torahs, has pleaded guilty to fraud charges on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/Larry Neumeister, File)
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  • FILE- In this Aug. 24, 2011 file photo, Menachem Youlus leaves federal court in New …

NEW YORK (AP) — A Jewish charity co-founder who claimed he traveled the world as a “Jewish Indiana Jones” to rescue Torahs pleaded guilty to fraud charges Thursday, saying he lied when he claimed he had personally obtained vintage Torah scrolls in Europe and Israel for six years.

Menachem Youlus entered the plea to mail and wire fraud charges in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Youlus is the owner of the Jewish Bookstore in Wheaton, Md., where he lives. A plea deal with prosecutors called for him to serve up to five years and three months in prison.

“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 and some of its contributors.

Prosecutors said he defrauded the charity he founded 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 U.S. dealers to synagogues and congregations nationwide, sometimes at inflated rates. It said he put nearly a third of $1.2 million 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 or had been taken from Jewish communities worldwide and repair them so they could be used in communities that need them. But authorities said Youlus rarely traveled abroad during the years he had claimed to go Torah hunting.

At a 2004 Torah dedication, Youlus wrote: “I guess you could call me the Jewish Indiana Jones,” the complaint said, referencing the action-adventure hero played by Harrison Ford in the 1981 Stephen Spielberg classic “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

In a statement, attorney Benjamin Brafman said he will seek leniency at a June 21 sentencing for Youlus, “a good man with the best of intentions who ultimately strayed into fraudulent conduct that he now accepts full responsibility for.”