An ex-treasure hunter could face new charges if he fails to cooperate in the investigation of the missing 500 gold coins.
Tommy Thompson, 64-years old, is warned by a federal judge, Judge Algenon Marbley , that he could face contempt-of-court charge if he does not reveal the location of the 500 missing gold coins. 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, which Thompson previously claims.
The judge is done listening to Tommy Thompson’s excuse that an illness prevents him from remembering where he put treasure from a sunken ship. “There’s no evidence his inability, unwillingness or refusal to comply is the result of some mental defect,” Marbley said of Thompson. He said that neither a psychologist nor a psychiatrist whom the defense hired has said Thompson definitively has the condition or that it impairs his memory.
Tommy Thompson has been held in contempt of court since mid-December when Judge Marbley in Columbus found Thompson violated a plea deal by refusing to respond.
Thompson has been sentenced for two years in prison in December and a $250,000 fine for failing to appear before a judge three years ago to answer similar questions. Marbley also said Thompson would be fined $1,000 a day until he cooperates.
“By the time he remembers where the coins are, the fine may cover the cost of the coins,” Marbley said.
Thompson discovered the SS Central America, a ship of gold with thousands of gold aboard that sunk on 1857 during a hurricane in South Carolina. 161 investors invested $12.7 million to help him find the ship but investors never got their share.
According to reports, much of the haul Thompson discovered was sold to a gold marketing group in 2000 for about $50 million.
Thompson was arrested in January 2015 along with his longtime female companion at a hotel where he was living near Boca Raton, Florida. Officials say he was hiding under a fake name, paying for everything in cash and keeping a low-profile.
During one of the court hearings, Thompson told the judge that he suffers from a rare form of chronic fatigue syndrome that has created problems with short-term memory.
Part of Thompson’s plea deal required him to answer questions in closed-door sessions about the whereabouts of the gold coins. Thompson has previously said without providing details that the coins were turned over to a trust in Belize. The government doubts this.