A Defiance native, once known for finding a vast treasure of gold that had sat on the bottom of the ocean for more than 131 years, is now a wanted man.
Tommy Thompson has been wanted for the past two years by the U.S. Marshals Service, who has hunted Thompson as a fugitive.
Thompson is wanted for skipping a court date to explain to investors what happened to all the gold he found from the shipwreck of the SS Central America that went down off the South Carolina coast in 1857 during a hurricane.
425 people drowned and gold worth millions was lost.
In October of 1988, Thompson found the treasure. But shortly afterward, dozens of insurance companies sued Thompson, claiming they had insured the gold in 1857 and that it belonged to them. In 1996, Thompson’s company was awarded 92 percent of the treasure, netting him about $50 million.
However, in 2005, Thompson’s investors still hadn’t been paid, and two sued.
Thompson went into seclusion in Vero Beach, Florida. He has since vanished.
Nobody is quite sure where Thompson, who is now 62, might be.
If caught, Thompson could face jail time and hefty fines.