Ex-treasure hunter ordered to turn over gold hidden in Belize

Posted: Monday, April 24, 2017. 9:34 a.m. CST.
By BBN Staff:In February, BBN reported on Tommy Thompson, a deep sea treasure hunter who, in 1988 found a gold rush era ship that sunk in 1857. The S.S. Central America had sank off South Carolina in a hurricane.Thompson had spent years studying the ship’s voyage and developing technology to plunge deeper into the ocean to retrieve the treasure, the Columbus Monthly newspaper reported.

On Friday, a federal judge warned Thompson that he could face another contempt-of-court charge if he doesn’t reveal the location of 500 missing gold coins.

Thompson was ordered to cooperate by granting power of attorney to allow the government to figure out if a trust in Belize knows the coins’ whereabouts. The ex treasure hunter had requested to appoint a civil attorney to assist him to review records so that he could remember where the gold is.

That request was not granted because according to Judge Algenon Marbley, “What stretches the court’s credulity is why do you need a civil attorney to explain your own documents, the court is not going to be complicit in spurious machinations.”

Thompson has been held in contempt of court since December 2015 for violating terms of a plea deal by refusing to respond to questions about the location of the coins. The gold coins are valued up to an estimated $4 million.

Thompson had said the coins were in Belize and agreed to reveal their location in a plea deal months after he was recaptured in 2015, but he later said he’d forgotten whom he’d given them to.

In 2015, Thompson and his girlfriend were caught in a Florida hotel room with $420,000 in $100 bills.

On December 15, 2016,  Thompson was locked up in Ohio and has been ordered to pay $1,000 a day by Judge Marbley until he answers questions about the gold and other assets. At the time he owed more than $350,000; according to Doug Squires, an assistant U.S. attorney.

On February 15, 2017, a judge offered the former deep-sea treasure hunter another chance to reveal information about the location of 500 missing gold coins. The judge instructed government prosecutors to draft an order related to the coins involving a Belize-based trust.

This makes it 495 days in prison for Thompson.

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