Deep-sea treasure hunter pleads guilty to contempt of court

AP News
|
Posted: Apr 08, 2015 4:58 PM
Deep-sea treasure hunter pleads guilty to contempt of court

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A deep-sea treasure hunter who spent years as a fugitive after refusing to testify about gold he discovered in a historic shipwreck has pleaded guilty to contempt of court.

Sixty-two-year-old Tommy Thompson pleaded guilty to the criminal contempt charge Wednesday in federal court in Columbus.

Thompson went missing in 2012 amid demands he appear in court. He and his longtime female companion were apprehended in January in Florida.

Thompson has faced accusations of cheating investors since his 1988 discovery of the S.S. Central America, known as the Ship of Gold. The ship sank in a hurricane off South Carolina in 1857 with thousands of pounds of gold aboard.

Thompson's attorney Ben Dusing said in a statement he hopes the plea agreement is a first step toward ending a decade of lawsuits.

The deal will require Thompson to turn over about $425,000 and requires him to cooperate in a civil lawsuit.