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Sentencing for companion of ex-Ohio fugitive treasure hunter

The Associated Press

FILE – This file image from undated video provided by WSYX-TV shows the wanted billboard for ex-fugitive deep-sea treasure hunter Tommy Thompson, left, and his longtime female companion Alison Antekeier, right. Antekeier faces up to three years on probation, but no prison time, when U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley sentences her Friday, Oct. 2, 2015, following her guilty plea to one count of contempt of court earlier this year. She was apprehended in January at a hotel where she and Thompson were living near Boca Raton, Fla.,, and Thompson’s sentencing is scheduled Oct. 29, 2015. (WSYX-TV via AP, File)

Associated Press

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By ANDREW WELSH-HUGGINS, AP Legal Affairs Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The long-time female companion of an ex-fugitive deep-sea treasure hunter faces three years on probation but not prison time at her sentencing.

Alison Antekeier was apprehended in January at a hotel where she and companion Tommy Thompson were living near Boca Raton, Florida. Federal Judge Algenon Marbley is scheduled to sentence Antekeier Friday following her guilty plea to one count of contempt of court earlier this year.

Thompson went missing three years ago amid demands he appear in court to account for missing gold coins and other assets taken after the discovery of an historic shipwreck. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 29.

Antekeier has no criminal background and made bad decisions out of loyalty to Thompson, her attorney said.

“She is concerned about his legal problems and even more concerned about his health problems,” attorney Dennis McNamara said in a Sept. 1 filing. “She believes Mr. Thompson has been treated unfairly by the civil legal system for many years. This loyalty and concern led to Ms. Antekeier’s offense.”

Before Thompson was returned to Ohio, he told a Florida judge he has a type of encephalitis, an overactive immune system and sensitivities and allergies that would be exacerbated if he was taken north.

U.S. marshals hunting Thompson eventually learned Antekeier had been using a fake ID to obtain medication for Thompson at a West Palm Beach, Florida, pharmacy, according to a government filing ahead of Friday’s sentencing.

The pair took numerous steps to avoid detection, including their possession of a book titled, “How to Be Invisible,” about evading law enforcement, prosecutors said.

Antekeier followed the terms of her plea agreement, which included answering questions by investors in the shipwreck expedition trying to recoup their losses, according to the government.

Thompson, 63, has faced accusations of cheating investors since he discovered the S.S. America, known as the Ship of Gold, in 1988. The gold-rush era ship sank in a hurricane off South Carolina in 1857 with thousands of pounds of gold aboard, contributing to an economic panic.

The 161 investors who paid Thompson $12.7 million to find the ship never saw any proceeds. Two sued — a now-deceased investment firm president and the company that once published The Columbus Dispatch newspaper.

Before Thompson’s sentencing, he must testify about 500 missing gold coins and other assets. He faces two years in prison and a maximum fine of $250,000.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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