In a legal filing, a father and son treasure hunting team is alleging that the FBI either lied to a federal judge or illegally destroyed evidence.
For years the FBI had insisted that their agents recovered nothing of value when they went looking for long-lost Civil War gold headed to the Philadelphia mint. However, Finders Keepers, a treasure-hunting company, led agents to a remote site in Dents Run, Pennsylvania, and now suspect the FBI found it and took off.
The main dispute is a video from a trail camera that Finders Keepers claim shows the FBI finding something of value.
After Finders Keepers began pressing the government for information about the dig, the FBI initially said it could produce 17 relevant video files. Then, without explanation, the FBI reduced that number to four. Last week, under court order, the agency finally revealed what it said were the contents of those four videos — and it turns out all had been provided to the FBI by Finders Keepers co-owner Dennis Parada himself, weeks before the dig, at a time when he was offering his evidence for buried treasure.
The FBI did not say it had any video of the actual excavation, which is what Finders Keepers is seeking. The treasure hunters say they have evidence the FBI indeed shot video of the dig — and they are seeking sanctions against the FBI for what their lawyer cast as a blatant, bad-faith effort to mislead.
On March 13, 2018, Parada’s hidden trail camera captured what appears to be an FBI agent in front of a video camera at the hillside dig site, with other agents in the background. The trail-cam image was included in a legal filing late Friday by lawyer Anne Weismann, who represents Finders Keepers in its Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the government.
The photo “suggests either the FBI has falsely claimed to have no other responsive videotapes or the FBI illegally destroyed responsive videotapes in an effort to circumvent the FOIA’s disclosure requirements,” Weismann wrote.
Finders Keepers would like a finders fee for all the hard work after a geophysical survey commissioned by the FBI hinted that they found an object with a mass of up to 9 tons and a density consistent with gold.
The Associated Press reported that an FBI agent told Finders Keepers after the survey that they were “one or two feet off Denny’s sweet spot,” and the mass was “7 to 9 tons.”
In addition to a finders fee and coverage of legal expenses lawyers now want to depose three FBI officials who oversaw the dig.
The State of Pennsylvania may also be getting involved in the legal because if gold was found it was on state gameland.
However, the warrant from the DOJ to secure the gold if found was sealed in a federal affidavit.
A few years later, the secrecy has touched off a legal battle known to occur in treasure hunts, and we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.
But it’s possible that there was “some gold up there in those hills.”