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‘Jewish Indiana Jones’ charged in N.Y. Torah fraud

Rabbi Menachem Youlus, of Save a Torah, center, along with Rabbi Dan Sikowitz, left, and Ed Prensky, treasurer of the Kol Ami congregation, display their newly obtained Torah on March 9, 2008 in Frederick.

NEW YORK — A man who claimed he crisscrossed the globe rescuing Torahs as a Jewish “Indiana Jones” has been charged with mail fraud. Authorities say he fabricated stories to dupe contributors to his charity.

Menachem Youlus is charged in a federal criminal complaint unsealed in Manhattan.

Court papers said the owner of a Wheaton bookstore carried out the fraud from at least 2004 through last year. They say he pocketed hundreds of thousands of dollars through the “Save a Torah” charity he co-founded as a nonprofit organization.

Authorities say he spent some of it on private school tuition for his children and personal expenses including meals and health care.

He was expected to appear in court later Wednesday.

The name of his attorney was not immediately known.