PORTLAND, Maine — A federal investigator claimed Gorham treasure hunter Greg Brooks lied both to investors and to the court that stripped Brooks’ company, Sea Hunters, of salvage rights for a sunken World War II-era cargo ship.

Search warrants unsealed last week shed more light on the continuing probe into Brooks’ promises of billions in sunken treasure aboard the S.S. Port Nicholson that investigators say were based on falsified documents from the National Archives.

The investigation has involved searches of Brooks’ home, email accounts, Facebook accounts and interviews of associates in the venture that raised more than $8 million since 2007. However, no indictment or formal charges against Brooks or others involved in the venture have been filed.

In late August, various Maine companies registered to Brooks — Deep Sea Hunters LP, Sea Hunters LP and Sea Hunters 2 LP — were dissolved by the Secretary of State’s Office, after they failed to file annual reports.

In the latest search warrants recently unsealed, FBI Special Agent Mark Miller wrote that email records show Brooks knew the historical documents were falsified before telling a court last year that he recently discovered the fraud.

In an affidavit to the U.S. District Court in Portland, Brooks wrote that contract researcher Edward Michaud told him that the cargo records were falsified during a Nov. 23, 2014, conversation, which was recorded by FBI investigators.

“I was stunned and extremely dismayed,” Brooks wrote, stating that it was the first time he learned the documents were false.

According to a transcript of the conversation, Brooks stated he “didn’t know it 100 percent” that the documents were fake, as Michaud stated that Brooks did.

In a Boston Magazine story published earlier this month, Brooks maintained that he was deceived by Michaud. A phone number the Bangor Daily News used previously to contact Brooks was not in working order Monday, and an attorney for Brooks was not immediately available.

Miller wrote in the latest unsealed warrant that emails from before the Nov. 23 meeting — including from an attorney who withdrew from the case — show Brooks knew or had reason to doubt the documents’ authenticity. Miller based the statement on interviews with Michaud, whose Massachusetts-based Trident Research did work for Brooks, and on an email from Brooks’ previous attorney with the subject line “FW: False Smoking Gun Documents.”

“There is little doubt some investors will seek to get some of their funds back,” wrote attorney David Horan in an email on Oct. 16, 2013. “Some of us, if not all, will be involved in some way either as defendants or witnesses. The investigation ongoing in the National Archives may not come up with anything as I do not believe that the primary documents came from the archives.”

Miller filed the email from Horan as evidence in requesting and receiving search warrants for Brooks’ email accounts, a private investor section of his website shiprex.net and his Facebook accounts.

Investigators were also granted a second search of Brooks’ home in January, during which they took a copy of the second volume of the book “Lloyd’s War Losses: The Second World War.”

Michaud told investigators that he used a copy of a shipping record for the S.S. Port Nicholson on Page 235 of that book to show that it contained 1.7 million troy ounces of platinum.

Darren Fishell

Darren is a Portland-based reporter for the Bangor Daily News writing about the Maine economy and business. He's interested in putting economic data in context and finding the stories behind the numbers.