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Mexican-American to lead Girl Scouts

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Mexican-American woman has been appointed to lead the Girl Scouts as an increasing number of Hispanics join the leadership organization.

The New York-based nonprofit announced Wednesday it has selected Anna Maria Chavez as its new chief executive officer.

The organization says it has seen a 55 percent increase in the number of Hispanic girls who have joined its ranks over the past 10 years.

They account for about 12 percent of the nearly 2.3 million girls.

Chavez has been the chief executive of Girl Scouts of Southwest Texas since 2009. She takes over for CEO Kathy Cloninger, who is retiring.

Chavez previously served as an urban affairs policy adviser to former Arizona governor and current U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.

She was raised in Arizona.

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> NEW YORK CITY

Charity co-founder faces fraud charges

NEW YORK (AP) -- A Jewish charity co-founder who claimed he crisscrossed the globe rescuing Torahs as a "Jewish Indiana Jones" surrendered Wednesday to face mail and wire fraud charges after authorities said he duped benefactors by fabricating dramatic stories about sometimes dangerous trips, including to concentration camp sites in Poland and Germany.

Menachem Youlus, who owns the Jewish Bookstore in Wheaton, Md., was charged in a criminal complaint unsealed in federal court in Manhattan and was released Wednesday on $100,000 bail.

Court papers said Youlus, 50, carried out the fraud from at least 2004 through last year, pocketing hundreds of thousands of dollars through the "Save a Torah" charity he co-founded in 2004 as a nonprofit organization. It said he passed off Torahs he bought from U.S. dealers to synagogues and congregations nationwide, sometimes at inflated rates.

It said he received nearly a third of $1.2 million collected by the group, spending some of it on private school tuition for his children and on personal expenses.

He stated that the mission of the charity was to locate and acquire Torahs that survived the Holocaust or had been taken from Jewish communities worldwide and repair them so they could be used again.

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