Torah Fraud Earns Rabbi Prison Term

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Rabbi Menachem Youlus, who was called a Jewish Indiana Jones and provided Torahs through a charity while fraudulently claiming they had been rescued after being hidden or lost during the Holocaust, was sentenced to just over four years in prison on Thursday by a judge who called his scheme sad and incomprehensible.

“As nearly as I can tell,” Judge Colleen McMahon of Federal District Court in Manhattan said, “the reason is that Mr. Youlus had a screw loose, that Mr. Youlus has this desire to be something he’s not, which is an adventurer, a hero.”

Rabbi Youlus, 51, had pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud; prosecutors said that he had fabricated accounts of finding Torahs at concentration camps like Auschwitz. The Torahs were then provided to others by a charity he had co-founded and which, prosecutors said, he defrauded by seeking reimbursement for doctored or inflated expenses or by diverting donations to himself....

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