CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Money Finders Accused of Theft

Two Massachusetts men who were all over the media after claiming to have found $100k in buried treasure were charged with stealing that money from a barn where they were working as laborers.  Story here. I hope they have a good lawyer; there is some law saying that a finder of "treasure trove" even on someone else's property, gets to keep it. "An owner of real estate is considered to be in constructive possession of property found "embedded in the earth," which may include such items as valuable earthenware and gold-bearing quartz, and property that has been "mislaid," which its owner intentionally put where he could resort to it but has forgotten the place. However, a landowner is said not to be in constructive possession of "treasure trove," which has been defined as gold, silver, bullion, or those metals' paper representatives, concealed for safekeeping, possessory rights to which exist in the finder."  61 A.L.R.4th 1180 [Jack Chin]

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