A former deep-sea treasure hunter who has not disclosed the placement of 500 lacking gold cash stays in an Ohio jail for the fifth 12 months.
Analysis scientist Tommy Thompson was been in jail for contempt of courtroom for half a decade – effectively previous the traditional most restrict of 18 months for such instances.
Thompson took on a case for 161 buyers who paid him $12.7 million to excavate a sunken ship, the S.S. America, which was referred to as the Ship of Gold and sunk in 1857 throughout a hurricane off South Carolina.
Thompson took the cash however by no means returned the gold, main the buyers to sue him.
After failing to seem in courtroom in 2012 to reveal the cash’ whereabouts, Thompson lived in Florida in hiding for 3 years earlier than U.S. marshals tracked him to Boca Raton and arrested him.
Thompson pleaded responsible for his failure to seem and was sentenced to 2 years in jail and a $250,000 tremendous, however he needed to reply questions in closed-door periods concerning the cash, which the federal government estimated to be value $2-Four million.
Thompson refused a number of occasions, and on Dec. 15, 2015, federal Decide Algenon Marbley discovered Thompson in contempt of courtroom and ordered him to remain in jail — and pay a $1,000 each day tremendous — till he responds.
“Your honor, I don’t know if we’ve gone over this highway earlier than or not, however I don’t know the whereabouts of the gold,” Thompson informed Marbley throughout a 2017 listening to. “I really feel like I don’t have the keys to my freedom.”
“He creates a patent for a submarine, however he can’t bear in mind the place he put the loot,” Marbley mentioned.
A federal regulation on “recalcitrant witnesses” – or individuals who don’t need to cooperate in a trial – holds that 18 months is usually the restrict for jail time. Nevertheless, a federal appeals courtroom final 12 months rejected Thompson’s argument that the regulation applies to him.
“The order isn’t supposed to solely search data, it’s to hunt data for the needs of recovering these distinctive property,” mentioned regulation professor and authorized analyst Andrew Geronimo, director of Case Western College’s First Modification Clinic.
The buyers nonetheless on the lookout for their cash say Thompson has nobody however himself guilty for his incarceration.
The Related Press contributed to this report.