Miami Legal Tips Blog

Authorities Nab Fugitive Treasure Hunter

5433174-3x2-940x627In yet another case of the long arm of the law finally catching up with a suspect on the loose (or, as the case may be, in hiding), the U.S. Marshals Service reports that it has tracked down a fugitive treasure hunter who had been staying in a Palm Beach hotel for the past couple of years.

Tommy Thompson, who has been engaged in a legal battle over what many regard as the greatest lost treasure in U.S. history, was arrested along with his companion, Alison Anteiker. A federal civil warrant had been issued from Columbus, OH in 2012 for Thompson’s arrest due to his failure to appear at a court hearing. Thompson and Anteiker had been holed up in a two-person suite at a Hilton in West Boca Raton. The two are awaiting a hearing in Florida before being extradited to Ohio.

The Thompson saga reportedly goes back as far as 1988, when he made history by discovering the S.S. Central America, a sunken vessel that had been known as the Ship of Gold. In what was regarded as something of a technological feat back then, Thompson and his associates managed to hoist thousands of gold bars and coins from the wreck. A great deal of that haul was subsequently sold to a gold marketing organization for roughly $50 million.

One key sticking point: There were 161 investors involved in the project who paid Thompson a total of $12.7 million to locate the ship. None of them saw any proceeds from Thompson’s sale. Two investors sued – an investment president who has since died and the Dispatch Printing Company, which published the Columbus Dispatch newspaper.

A former director of one of Thompson’s companies maintains that proceeds from the gold sale went to pay off loans as well as legal fees. Thompson went into hiding, living in a mansion in Vero Beach, FL. When the warrant for his arrest was issued, he disappeared. The mansion’s caretakers eventually went through the house, finding a book entitled. “How to Live Your Life Invisible”.

A Columbus attorney who previously defended one of Thompson’s businesses says there’s no proof that Thompson stole anything. He’ll likely be held in custody until he appears in front of an Ohio judge to explain matters about the sale of the gold.

And when he does, you can be sure that he will have an experienced attorney representing him.

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