Fugitive Treasure Hunter To Plead Guilty

A fugi­tive trea­sure hunter plans to plead guilty to a con­tempt of court charge related to his refusal to tes­tify about gold he dis­cov­ered from a his­toric ship­wreck. A plea agree­ment in fed­eral court last week in Colum­bus, now means the the case of Tommy Thomp­son will move for­ward. The 62-year-old Thomp­son went miss­ing three years ago. He and his long­time com­pan­ion, Ali­son Antekeier, were nabbed in Jan­u­ary at a hotel where he was liv­ing near Boca Raton, Florida. Thomp­son is accused of cheat­ing investors since he dis­cov­ered the S.S. Amer­ica, known as the Ship of Gold, in 1988. That’s the gold-rush era ship that sank in a hur­ri­cane off South Car­olina in 1857 with thou­sands of pounds of gold aboard. Thompso and his crew brought up thou­sands of bars and coins, which were sold to a gold mar­ket­ing group for about $50 mil­lion. The 161 investors who paid Thomp­son $12.7 mil­lion to find the ship never saw the pro­ceeds. They sued him. The plea agree­ment includes terms of Thompson’s coop­er­a­tion with the gov­ern­ment, and must be accepted by the court. The next hear­ing in Thompson’s case is sched­uled for this Wednes­day. Thomp­son has been in cus­tody in Ohio for sev­eral weeks fol­low­ing his extra­di­tion from Florida, where he rented a Vero Beach man­sion, paid rent in cash and put the util­i­ties in the landlord’s name. Inside the man­sion were pre-paid dis­pos­able cell­phones and bank wraps for $10,000, along with a book called “How to Live Your Life Invisible.”

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