With a name like Tommy G. Thompson, you’re bound to end up doing something worthy of fame or notoriety. But you probably wouldn’t guess that ol’ Tommy T. was once one of the greatest treasure hunters of his day — and not in the 18th century pirate kind of way. A real, modern day treasure hunter.
After finding a “trove of gold” in the Atlantic Ocean in 1988, Thompson recruited 160 investors to help him pull it up from the ocean. The three tons of gold was aboard the S.S. Central America, a ship that sank 8,000 feet to the sea floor in 1857.
But he wasn’t a swashbuckler. Thompson was methodical and scientific in his excavation of the treasure, learning not only about the riches below but the cultural history of the shipwreck. When things started to sour between him and his investors, who accused him of stealing the loot, Thompson disappeared completely for years.
It turns out, the modern-day Blackbeard was hiding out in a mansion in Florida, the Washington Post reported in January:
“They paid rent for the multi-million dollar Vero Beach property in cold, sweaty cash that had become damp and moldy after being buried underground, according to court documents from 2013 that were unsealed this week. Thompson kept at least 12 disposable cellphones — each assigned to a different person or purpose.”
Now that he’s been tracked down and hauled in, Thompson is being held in an Ohio jail cell until he tells authorities where the gold went, and is being fined $1,000 a day until he spills its whereabouts. His former investors think he’s hiding it in a trust account for his kids. But he swears he doesn’t know where it is.
[h/t The Washington Post]
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