Ex-Treasure Hunter Again Told to Give Up Coins' Location

Tommy Thompson has been in prison nearly 500 days
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Apr 23, 2017 3:32 PM CDT
Ex-Treasure Hunter Again Told to Give Up Coins' Location
This undated file photo provided by the Delaware County Sheriff's Office in Delaware, Ohio, shows Tommy Thompson.   (Delaware County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

A federal judge is warning an ex-treasure hunter that he could face another contempt-of-court charge if he doesn't reveal the location of 500 missing gold coins. Ohio Judge Algenon Marbley on Friday ordered Tommy Thompson to cooperate by granting power of attorney to allow the government to figure out if a trust in Belize knows the coins' whereabouts, reports the AP. Marbley refused Thompson's request to appoint a civil attorney to help him review records in order to "jog his memory," about where the gold is, as the Columbus Dispatch puts it. "What stretches the court’s credulity is why do you need a civil attorney to explain your own documents," Marbley said. "The court is not going to be complicit in spurious machinations."

Marbley has held the 64-year-old in contempt of court since December 2015—that's 495 days as of this writing—for violating terms of a plea deal by refusing to respond to questions about the coins' locations. The coins, valued up to $4 million, were minted from gold taken from the SS Central America, which sank in an 1857 hurricane. Thompson went on the run in 2012 after investors who funded his search for the wreck of the SS Central America accused him of selling $50 million in gold and keeping the profits for himself. He 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. (Read more treasure stories.)

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