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Fugitive Gold Digger Arrested In Palm Beach County

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After two years on the run, a treasure hunter embroiled in a legal fight over lost treasure, was tracked down at a hotel in Palm Beach County.

Tommy Thompson vanished after failing to show up at a key court hearing in Ohio where he was being sued by investors.

Thompson gained notoriety 27 years ago when he found the sunken 'SS Central America', also known as the ship of gold.

"It seems complete role reversal. The hunter became the hunted.  He was on the run for two years," said U.S. Marshal Barry Golden.

When Thompson found the Central America which sank in a hurricane off the South Carolina Coast in 1857, much of the gold was sold to a marketing group for 50 million dollars.

Thompson had been paid $12 million dollars by investors who said they never saw any return. That led to a lawsuit and Thompson's disappearance until Tuesday.

Federal authorities said Thompson and his companion went to great lengths to conceal themselves, using cash only and no car.

It appears they had access to a lot of the money and it was difficult to track them down.

Acting on a tip from Ohio, Marshals zeroed in on Thompson's companion on Tuesday and followed her for seven hours.

"They had no vehicles.  She was using buses and taxis to get around.  They were able to follow her to the hotel and make an arrest," said Golden.

On Wednesday, Thompson told a federal judge he was ill and so his hearing was re-scheduled for Thursday.

CLICK HERE to watch CBS4 Joan Murray's report


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