A "Jewish Indiana Jones." The very words conjure up thrilling scenes of cliff-hanging, deli-sampling adventure! And that's precisely what a mild-mannered Jewish bookstore owner from Maryland was passing himself off as, in what has turned out to be nothing more than an extremely clever con.
At a 2004 Torah dedication, Youlus wrote: "I guess you could call me the Jewish Indiana Jones," the complaint said.
Youlus would petition contributors for upwards of $250,000 to embark upon a "mission" to rescue, for example, the fabled Auschwitz Torah — saying that in previous efforts he had "been beaten up, thrown in jail, and gone $175,000 into debt."
But [criminal complaint-preparer and U.S. Postal Inspector Greg] Ghiozzi wrote that his investigation of Youlus' globe-trotting found no facts to support claims that Youlus rescued the "Auschwitz Torah" in Poland from inside a metal box that he located and unearthed in 2004 using a metal detector.
There was also no evidence that he discovered a Torah in 2002 that had been hidden during World War II under the floor of a barracks at the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany, Ghiozzi wrote.