SUNKEN TREASURE LEADS TO BIG DEBTS AND BIGGER QUESTIONS FOR KEY WEST TREASURE HUNTER � �60 MINUTES� SUNDAY
Be careful what you wish for. The old saying is a fitting one for the predicament Jay Miscovich finds himself in. The amateur diver and treasure hunter says he came upon what everyone dreams of: a sunken treasure potentially worth millions of dollars. But ever since he says he found one of the largest caches of raw emeralds ever discovered, the debt he has incurred to salvage them has risen, along with questions about how the gems got there and whether, if ever, he will get to profit from his find. Armen Keteyian reports this maritime mystery from Key West, Fla., for 60 MINUTES Sunday, April 22 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Miscovich says he found the gems by buying a map from a diver he knew. It led him to a site in the Gulf of Mexico where the diver said he found ancient pottery, a sign of a possible wreck. Miscovich says he found the emeralds nearby, and then talked investors into giving him hundreds of thousands of dollars to salvage the gems. But he�s had to spend millions of dollars more to try to get ownership of his find�more than 80 pounds of raw emeralds of all shapes, sizes and quality. Today, there remain some key questions about the discovery.
How did the gems get there? Why do some of them contain a polishing substance in use for just the past 50 years or so? Why won�t Miscovich reveal the name of the person who gave him the map? On top of that, it could take years before a court decides to give him title to the loot, and he can�t legally sell it until he gets it. With the worth of such gems tied to their provenance, never finding out if they came from a famous wreck or belonged to an historical person could diminish their worth. Should he get title eventually, will they be worth more than the nearly $10 million he owes investors and lawyers?
�It�s the trouble with treasure,� says Key West Attorney David Horan, who had to dive down himself to see the ocean bottom site glistening with green gems before he agreed to represent Miscovich in a title claim. �He didn't understand the implications as to title,� says Horan. �Possession was, in his mind, 99.9 percent of the law.� Watch an excerpt.
Horan discusses another question in this mystery: why didn�t Miscovich just sell the gems on the black market? Horan says, �He had that option and he didn�t do it�there�s a lot of trouble that comes with finding treasure.�