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 getting ready to mark his sixth 12 months in jail for refusing to reveal the whereabouts of 500 lacking cash constructed 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 every day advantageous of $1,000.

Thompson’s case dates to his discovery of the S.S. Central America, often known as the Ship of Gold, in 1988. The gold rush-era ship sank in a hurricane off South Carolina in 1857 with 1000’s 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 accordance with courtroom data, federal prosecutors and the decide who discovered Thompson in contempt.

Thompson says he is already stated every little thing he is aware of in regards to the cash. Thompson pleaded responsible in April 2015  for his failure to seem for a 2012 listening to and was sentenced to 2 years in jail and a $250,000 advantageous. However Thompson’s prison sentence has been delayed till the difficulty of the gold cash is resolved.

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

Federal legislation usually 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 circumstances 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 offered by the Delaware County Sheriffs Workplace.

Delaware County Sheriffs Workplace through AP

After know-how issues cancelled Thompson’s newest digital listening to final week, federal Choose 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 stated.

“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 stated Thompson did not current correct proof for his danger stage, and in addition famous he stays a flight danger.

The traders nonetheless searching for their cash say Thompson has nobody however himself accountable for his incarceration.

Treasure Hunter Fugitive
This undated drawing made out there 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 1000’s 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 along with his plea settlement and cooperated in finding lacking property when he was presupposed to,” lawyer Steven Tigges stated in a courtroom submitting.

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