2 Jerusalem residents held for fraud over fake cult claims

Police launch an investigation into a group of Israeli Jews from the Sanhedria neighborhood of Jerusalem who allegedly misled and swindled donors in Israel and abroad by making up stories about a purported Christian cult that had kidnapped, sexually abused and forcibly converted to Christianity hundreds of Jewish children from the Haredi community.

In a statement Tuesday, police say they first received reports about the cult two years ago and launched an investigation into the allegations. The investigation led to the conclusion that no such cult exists. Stories about it were being spread by a group in order to elicit money from concerned citizens.

Three people are arrested in the case. Among the charges investigators are exploring are fraud and child abuse. Two are remanded Tuesday for a week.

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