Treasure hunter Tommy Thompson was to appear in court yesterday after having been on the run for over two years. Thompson is facing legal problems because of the most notable undersea hauls of this century.

Thompson was captured by the US Marshals at his West Boca Raton Hiltion hotel this Tuesday. Brian Babtist from the US Marshals Columbus, Ohio office announced the capture on Wednesday. A federal arrest warrant had been issued for Thompson in 2012 after he failed to show up in court for a hearing.

He had been on the run for nearly two years as he was accused of scamming his investors out of over 50 million dollars in gold and coins that he managed to recover from a shipwreck.

In 1988 he made history when he succeeded in finding the Ship of Gold, e.g. S.S. Central America and recovered thousands of coins and gold bars from the wreck. Most of the gold was sold in 2000 and he got $50 million for it.

161 investors paid $12.7 million to Thompson so he could find the wreck, but they didn’t receive their returns after the ship was found. Two of these investors ended up suing Thompson, one was the Dispatch Printing Company, who had invested a million dollars and the other was a non deceased president of an investment firm.

Ever since, the legal battle has been going on. In 2006, Thompson started to live in a secluded mansion in Florida, but after the warrant from 2012, he vanished. This year he was arrested together with partner Alison Antekeier, the two had been staying at the hotel for the whole two years.

The particular Hilton hotel is surrounded by golfing grounds, gated communities and country clubs only miles away from the beach. There is a running track and a swimming pool.

Either Thompson nor Antekeier had any vehicles in their name and Antekeier had been using taxis and public transportation to go places.

The vessel S.S. Central America ended up in the bottom of the ocean in 1857, in a hurricane near South Carolina. 425 people drowned, several thousand pounds of American gold went down with the ship, causing an economic crisis.

 
image:By Peter Southwood (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons