JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla – The daughter of a Jacksonville businessman who is accused of faking his own death and then was arrested in the mountains in North Carolina earlier this year is now finding herself on the receiving end of a civil lawsuit.
The lawsuit claims that Jose Lantigua owes Florida Capital Bank more than $500,000 and the bank is now trying to take possession of his daughter's home in Jacksonville Beach.
Channel 4's Chris Parenteau stopped by the house where Christina Lantigua lives, according to the lawsuit. She did not answer the door, but neighbors told News4Jax that there have been recent suspicions about stories she has told.
"I heard that from a neighbor. She had come out and spilled her guts to him about her dad had died. Before he died, he left her the money and bought the house. Now somebody was contesting and trying to get the house back because the dad had died," said Gerald Watson, who lives in the area.
Watson was not the only neighbor who said he had heard a story about her father dying. Watson says he doesn't ever remember seeing Jose Lantigua at the house, which court documents say was paid for in a $287,000 wire transfer in 2012. Watson says Christina Lantigua still lives in the house.
"Just casual passing and stuff. I'm really not that familiar with her. I knew the guy that lived with her before and I don't know her very well," said Watson.
Florida Capital Bank claims that the house and a car, which the lawsuit says Lantigua paid for with a check, were purchased fraudulently. The bank gave Lantigua a $1.6 million loan in 2008 to purchase Circle K Furniture, but he defaulted on the loan when the store closed. The bank got back about $800,000 in a foreclosure sale, but says they are still owed more than $500,000. They want the house that was foreclosed on.
"It's surprising to hear because she was so young and as far as I know from what I've seen, she didn't have a job at the time," said Watson.
This lawsuit is a civil suit, not a criminal one. Christina Lantigua has not been charged with any crimes in connection with Jose Lantigua or his actions. He is in federal custody in Asheville, North Carolina awaiting his next court hearing on federal identity theft and passport fraud charges. That hearing is scheduled for Aug. 24th.