A rabbi who called himself the “Jewish Indiana Jones” was sentenced on Thursday to four-plus years in jail for attempting to sell Torah scrolls which he claimed he had salvaged after they were lost during the Holocaust, the NY Post reports.
Menachem Youlus, 51, stood with his eyes closed while Manhattan federal Judge Colleen McMahon rebuked him for swindling $1.2 million through a charity organization called the Save a Torah he co-founded in Maryland.
Youlus was ordered to return more than $990,000 to his victims.
Judge McMahon said Youlus’ her stomach was turned by Youlus’ exploitation of his “co-religionists.”
Youlus, who never spent the money he stole, invented imaginary tales of his risking his life in search of Torah scrolls buried in concentration camps.
“The reason, as near as I can tell, is that, Mr. Youlus has a screw loose,” the judge said.
Prosecutors said Youlus simply lied about the used Torahs he was selling, which he had bought in the United States.