- Associated Press - Friday, October 2, 2015

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - The longtime companion of an ex-fugitive deep sea treasure hunter was sentenced to a month behind bars Friday by a federal judge who rejected a recommendation for probation.

Alison Antekeier was apprehended in January at a hotel where she and companion Tommy Thompson were living near Boca Raton, Florida.

Antekeier’s lawyer argued for probation, and the government didn’t disagree, but Marbley said that wasn’t enough to send a message of deterrence.

“You cannot be allowed to conduct your affairs in this manner and not suffer consequences,” Marbley said.

Antekeier knew what she did was wrong and went to great lengths to avoid detection, Marbley said.

A combination of concerns about Thompson clouded Antekeier’s judgment and kept her from appearing in court even after she realized she had to, including Thompson’s legal problems, his health and her loyalty to him, her attorney, Dennis McNamara, told Marbley.

Arguments about loyalty didn’t move the judge.

“Fidelity is meant for the Marines, not for people engaged in criminal activity,” Marbley said.

Antekeier, 48, declined to make a statement. Her total sentence was five months, with one behind bars and two on house arrest. She received credit for two months she spent in jail in Florida. She must also pay a $5,000 fine.

“Judge Marbley gave her that sentence to send a message to her and to the community that violating court orders will not be tolerated,” assistant U.S. attorney Doug Squires said.

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.

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 found Thompson after discovering that 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, 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.

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This story has been corrected to change Antekeier’s age to 48.

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