Charity Co-founder Pleads Guilty In NY Torah Fraud

Published February 2, 2012 11:45PM (EST)

NEW YORK (AP) — 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 in New York.

Menachem Youlus (muh-NAH'-kuhm YOO'-luhs) entered the plea to mail and wire fraud charges on Thursday. Youlus owns the Jewish Bookstore in Wheaton, Md., where he lives.

He told Judge Colleen McMahon that he lied between 2004 and 2010 when he told people he personally obtained certain vintage Torah scrolls in Europe and Israel. He said those lies included telling people he had personally retrieved parts of one scroll from a metal box in the former concentration camp in Auschwitz, Poland.

Sentencing was set for June 21. A plea deal with prosecutors called for him to serve up to five years and three months in prison.

By Salon Staff

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