The rise and fall of a shipwreck treasure hunter

Author:
Publish date:

Tommy Thompson made a name – and a fortune – for himself when in 1989 he and his team discovered what's been described as the greatest lost treasure in American history — thousands of pounds of gold that sat in the ocean for 131 years after the ship carrying it sank during a hurricane.

Trouble is, both Tommy and the loot soon disappeared.

For years, the U.S. Marshals Service has hunted Thompson as a fugitive — wanted for skipping a court date to explain to investors what happened to the riches.

"I think he had calculated it, whatever you want to call it, an escape plan," Marshals agent Brad Fleming told the Associated Press. "I think he's had that for a long time."