In 1988, Tommy Thompson discovered hundreds of millions of dollars worth of gold coins 160-miles off the coast of South Carolina, deep in the Atlantic Ocean, 8500-feet underwater.
The coins were inside the shipwreck S.S. Central America, which sank in a raging hurricane on September 12th, 1857. 425 people were killed. The ship and 3-tons of gold sank to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
The 3-tons of gold coins were worth $200 million dollars. On top of that, they are rare mint 1857-S Coronet double eagles, which were minted in 1857 in San Francisco and destined for New York via the Panama Canal. But they never made it. (It has also been said the ship was carrying 21 tons of raw gold from California mines and gold bars, all from the California Gold Rush days).
Tommy Thompson was an ocean engineer with the Battelle Institute (Columbus, Ohio) who was funded to research the shipwreck. 160 investors ponied up $10-million dollars in funding.
What they didn’t count on was Tommy using their money to steal the treasure, then failing to reimburse those 160 people who financed the salvage operation.
In 2012, Thompson became a fugitive until 2015 when he and his ladyfriend Alison Antekeier were nabbed by the Florida Fugitive Taskforce of the U.S. Marshals in Boca Raton, Florida.
Thompson quickly developed a case of “CRS Disease” where he “Can’t Remember Shit” about the location of the gold coins or profits he’s made from them. At one point he claimed the coins were given to a trust in Belize.
Thompson has been ordered to pay $1,000 a day until he cooperates.
Tommy Thompson is currently an inmate in Delaware County Jail (Delaware, Ohio)
Great article on the case from Columbus Monthly