Tommy Thompson is a treasure hunter turned fugitive, who found a sunken ship filled with thousands of pounds of gold, before going missing in 2012.
Here’s what you need to know:
1.The SS Central America
The SS Central America was a ship sailing for New York, filled with California prospect gold. At the time it was carrying the equivalent of 2 million dollars in gold. However, in 1857 the Central America was caught in a hurricane and substantially sunk, killing 425 people. 53 of the ships passengers were rescued over the following week.
2. Oceanic Engineer Turned Treasure Hunter
From hunter to hunted: The rise and fall of famed treasure sleuth Tommy Thompson: http://t.co/65MHLypi2J
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 13, 2014
Tommy Thompson was a ocean engineer who graduated from Ohio State, who dedicated his life to finding the sunken SS Central America. About 12.7 million dollars were invested in Thompson’s search, along with using his own technology and experts on the expedition.
3. Discovered a Sunken Ship Full of Gold
In 1989, Thompson’s obsession had finally paid off when he found the treasure the SS Central America had left. However, shortly after 39 insurance companies sued Thompson claiming they insured the gold back in 1857. Then in 1996, Thompson and his company were awarded 92 percent of the gold, while the remaining 8 percent was divided up between the insurance companies. 532 bars and thousands of gold coins were sold four years later, bringing in 50 million dollars to Thompson and his company.
But in 2005, Thompson was again sued by two companies who invested in his expedition saying they had not been paid and the year after, nine of Thompson’s crew also sued him.
4. Thompson Went Missing in 2012
http://t.co/ZhGedTbybP One of the last times anyone ever saw Tommy Thompson, he was walking on the pool deck of a Florida mansion wearing
— j k miller (@pink2yoo) September 14, 2014
Thompson would move to Vero Beach, Florida, where he refused to use his real name on bills and seemed to be in hiding. The last time Thompson was seen was by a maintenance worker claiming
“His hair was all crazy, after that, me and (a friend) referred to him as the crazy professor.”
On August 13, 2012 Thompson failed to appear at a court hearing and warrant was put out for his arrest. When Kennedy entered Thompson’s home he found disposable cellphones, bank wraps for $10,000 bills, and a book called “How to Live Your Life Invisible.”
5. Disputing Ideas on What Happened to Thompson
Thompson, who would be 62 now, is now wanted by the FBI and U.S Marshals. The crew members’s attorney who are suing Thompson, Mike Szolosi, claim he took 2 million dollars in gold and millions from his own company as compensation. While Thompson’s defense attorney says there is no proof he took anything. If Thompson is ever caught he would be required to account of the missing coins and what happened to the sale of the treasure.