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Treasure Hunters Say FBI Cheating Them Out of Old Gold

Lawyer is pushing to unseal records following 2018 dig in Pennsylvania
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 29, 2021 10:14 AM CST

(Newser) – A lawyer says he's one step closer to uncovering the truth about a legendary treasure of Civil War gold said to have been lost in the Pennsylvania wilderness, reports Penn Live. The FBI excavated a site in Elk State Forest in 2018, acting on a tip from treasure hunting group Finders Keepers. The group had determined that the Union Army's cache of gold bars—which supposedly disappeared en route from Wheeling, West Virginia, to the US Mint in Philadelphia in 1863—must be buried there. But the FBI said the group was wrong. Initially embarrassed at their apparent mistake, Finders Keepers father-son owners Dennis and Kem Parada now believe the FBI is hiding something, possibly the treasure, and have been fighting to gain access to documents sealed from public view due to an "ongoing criminal investigation."

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Their lawyer, William J. Cluck, says a break came with a recent public records request, when he learned the name of the federal judge who sealed the records. "I got what I wanted," Cluck says, adding he'll now petition the judge to lift the lid, so to speak. "We are convinced that they found gold," says Cluck, noting a ground-penetrating survey ordered by the FBI found a buried, metallic mass with the density of gold. That was before the March 2018 dig, which involved the FBI's Art Crimes Division. Witnesses observed 50 agents and armored cars on site all night, Cluck tells PennLive. "So, what are we supposed to believe?" He argues the Paradas should get a portion of the treasure's value, per Fox News. Estimates vary, but the Paradas believe it could be worth as much as $400 million. (Read more treasure stories.)

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