Treasure hunter nonetheless in jail after 6 years for refusing to reveal whereabouts of 500 gold cash present in historic shipwreck

A former deep-sea treasure hunter is making ready to mark his sixth 12 months in jail for refusing to reveal the whereabouts of 500 lacking cash produced from gold present in an historic shipwreck.

Analysis scientist Tommy Thompson has been  held in contempt of courtroom since Dec. 15, 2015, for that refusal. He’s additionally incurring a each day superb of $1,000.

Thompson’s case dates to his discovery of the S.S. Central America, often called the Ship of Gold, in 1988. The gold rush-era ship sank in a hurricane off South Carolina in 1857 with hundreds of kilos of gold aboard, contributing to an financial panic.

On this November 1989 file photograph, Tommy Thompson holds a $50 pioneer gold piece retrieved earlier in 1989 from the wreck of the gold ship SS Central America.

AP Photograph/The Columbus Dispatch, Lon Horwedel

Regardless of an traders lawsuit and a federal courtroom order, Thompson, 69, nonetheless will not cooperate with authorities looking for these cash, in keeping with courtroom information, federal prosecutors and the choose who discovered Thompson in contempt.

Thompson says he is already mentioned the whole lot he is aware of in regards to the cash. Thompson pleaded responsible in April 2015  for his failure to look for a 2012 listening to and was sentenced to 2 years in jail and a $250,000 superb. However Thompson’s legal sentence has been delayed till the difficulty of the gold cash is resolved.

After a federal choose ordered Thompson in 2012 to look in courtroom to reveal the cash’ whereabouts, Thompson fled to Florida the place he lived together with his longtime feminine companion at a lodge the place he was residing close to Boca Raton. U.S. marshals tracked him down and arrested him in early 2015.

Federal legislation typically limits jail time for contempt of courtroom to 18 months. However a federal appeals courtroom in 2019 rejected Thompson’s argument that that legislation applies to him, saying his refusal violates situations of a plea settlement.

Tommy Thompson, a former deep-sea treasure hunter, is seen in an undated photo provided by the Delaware County Sheriffs Office.
Tommy Thompson, a former deep-sea treasure hunter, is seen in an undated photograph supplied by the Delaware County Sheriffs Workplace.

Delaware County Sheriffs Workplace through AP

After expertise issues cancelled Thompson’s newest digital listening to final week, federal Decide Algenon Marbley scheduled a brand new listening to for Jan. 7.

Final 12 months, Thompson appeared by video for his listening to.

“Mr. Thompson, are you able to reply the seminal query on this case as to the whereabouts of the gold?” Marbley mentioned.

“Your honor, I do not know if we have gone over this street earlier than or not, however I do not know the whereabouts of the gold,” Thompson responded. “I really feel like I haven’t got the keys to my freedom.”

Final 12 months,  Marbley denied Thompson’s request for launch over considerations he is in danger for contracting the coronavirus behind bars. Marbley mentioned Thompson did not current correct proof for his threat degree, and in addition famous he stays a flight threat.

The traders nonetheless in search of their cash say Thompson has nobody however himself guilty for his incarceration.

Treasure Hunter Fugitive
This undated drawing made obtainable by the Library of Congress reveals the U.S. Mail ship S.S. Central America, which sank after crusing right into a hurricane in September 1857 in one of many worst maritime disasters in American historical past; 425 individuals have been killed and hundreds of kilos of gold sank with it to the underside of the ocean.


“He can be out of jail by now if he had merely complied together with his plea settlement and cooperated in finding lacking belongings when he was purported to,” lawyer Steven Tigges mentioned in a courtroom submitting.

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