Treasure Hunter Sues FBI Over Secretly Taking Civil War Era Gold

Pennsylvania treasure hunters are suing the FBI, who claims they took Civil War-era gold during a top-secret overnight dig.

Top Secret FBI Mission?

Finders Keepers’ owners, the father-son duo of Dennis and Kem Parada, spent years looking for the fabled 1863 shipment of Union gold that was supposedly lost or stolen on its way to the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia.

Before the gold mysteriously went missing, the pair led the FBI to a remote site 135 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, where they say their instruments identified a huge hunk of metal.

The court-ordered release of a trove of government photos, videos, maps, and other documents involving the FBI’s secretive search for Civil War-era gold has convinced the Parada duo of a coverup and is determined to prove it.

Finders Keepers filed a federal lawsuit against the Justice Department for failing to produce documents on the FBI’s search for the legendary gold, which occurred nearly five years ago at a remote woodland site in northwestern Pennsylvania.

Sept 2018 Father and Son Finders Keepers Duo. Image by MICHAEL RUBINKAM / AP

Fighting the FBI Over Records

“There’s been a pattern of behavior by the FBI that’s been very troubling,” said Anne Weismann, who represents Finders Keepers. She questioned whether the agency is “acting in good faith.”

The FBI initially claimed it had no files about the investigation at all. Then, after the Justice Department ordered a more thorough review, the FBI claimed its records were exempt from public disclosure.

Finally, in the wake of the treasure hunters’ appeal, the FBI said it had located records it could potentially turn over but that it would take years to do so.

This prompted the treasure hunters’ Freedom of Information Act suit seeking to compel production.

FBI tent by the scene of excavation. Image by WJAC-TV

The duo accuses the FBI of distorting key evidence and improperly withholding records in an apparent effort to conceal the recovery of a historic, extremely valuable gold cache. The FBI defends its handling of the materials.

Parada’s dispute with the FBI is playing out in federal court, where a judge overseeing the case must decide whether the FBI will have to release its operational plan for the gold dig and other records it wants to keep secret. The judge could also order the FBI to keep looking for additional materials to turn over to the treasure hunter.

2018 photo released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation shows the FBI’s 2018 dig for Civil War-era gold at a remote site in Dents Run, Penn. Image by Federal Bureau of Investigation via AP

Father and Son Duo and Years of Dedication

“We feel we were double-crossed and lied to,” Parada said in an interview at his cramped, wood-paneled office, where huge drill bits and high-end metal detectors compete for space with rusty miners’ picks, Civil War-era cannon parts and other odds and ends he’s dug up over the years.

“The truth will come out,” said Parada, co-founder of the treasure-hunting outfit Finders Keepers. Solving the mystery is not his only goal — he had hoped to earn a finder’s fee from the potential recovery of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of gold.

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