• Presumed dead businessman found alive, arrested on federal charges

    By: Larry Spruill


    A Jacksonville businessman who was reported dead in Venezuela two years ago, was arrested this weekend in the U.S.

    Jose Lantigua, 62, was arrested in Buncombe County, North Carolina. He’s being held on federal charges.

    His wife, Daphne Simpson, was arrested in St. Johns County Saturday.

    Our media partner the Jacksonville Business Journal reports that Lantigua owed more than $8 million when he left Jacksonville.

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    Lantigua’s disappearance led to multiple lawsuits stemming from loans he took out using life insurance policies as collateral.

    Action News Law and Safety Expert Dale Carson talked about the complexity of this case.

    “He will come back here to face charges in this judicial circuit in state court because there have been outstanding warrants for him for a number of years. Some were rescinded. Now there is another one out for him now, so he will be brought back to stand charges on fraud against the insurance carrier,” Carson said.

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    Lantigua’s attorney Josh Woolsey sent Action News the following statement:

    “The firm had long taken the position that it would not continue with its representation if credible evidence existed that Mr. Lantigua was still alive.  Given it has now been confirmed that he is in fact alive, we will be filing a motion to withdraw from our representation in the litigation as soon as possible.”

    Lantigua’s wife was arrested on an out-of-state warrant. She is still in the St. Johns County jail.

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