Scribal swindler Menachem Youlus, aka the "Jewish Indiana Jones," was sentenced yesterday in Manhattan Federal Court to four-plus years behind bars for conning over $1.2 million out of donors to his fabricated Torah-rescue charity.
From 2004 to 2010, Youlus sought donations for his charity "Save a Torah," which purported to go on scroll-rescuing expeditions in Europe and Israel, seeking Holocaust-era scrolls to recover and restore. Only trouble is, the rescue missions never happened. Instead of historical Torahs, Youlus passed off ones bought from U.S.-dealers, often selling them at an inflated rate.
"We're here because Mr. Youlus is a liar and because he lied in order to obtain money," Judge Colleen McMahon said at Youlus's sentencing yesterday. It's been a bad couple of years for the historical Torah hunter. Last August, Youlus was accused of fraud, which his lawyers firmly denied. By February, his team was singing a different song, saying Youlus is "a good man … who ultimately strayed into fraudulent conduct," and “should be sentenced with great leniency.”
Their message must not have reached Judge McMahon, who yesterday sentenced Youlus to the maximum possible prison term of 51 months, calling his exploitation "Frankly a crime that turns my stomach." Receiving his sentence, the 50-year-old fraudster and father of nine shut his eyes and winced, reports the Post. Youlus was also sentenced to pay back $990,000 to his con victims.
Of course, if the Torah hunter really wanted to get Jews to give him millions of dollars, he could have just released an app for that.