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Hearing for Jose Lantigua put off until Oct. 19

Lantigua accused of trying to collect on $9 million in life insurance policies

Jose Lantigua (seated next to defense lawyer) appears in federal court in Ashville, North Carolina.
Jose Lantigua (seated next to defense lawyer) appears in federal court in Ashville, North Carolina.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A plea hearing for a former Jacksonville businessman charged with faking his own death, stealing another man's identity, lying to a federal agent and being a fugitive for 16 months has been pushed back to Oct. 19. 

During his arraignment, Jose Lantigua put in an original plea of not guilty to the federal charges in North Carolina, where he remains in jail, but was set to enter a formal plea on Oct. 9.

His wife, Daphne Sylvia Simpson, 57, who is charged with one count of making false statements to a federal agent, is in the Duval County jail. An arraignment date for her has not been set but was originally scheduled for June 17, but was pushed back on five previous occasions.

An arrest warrant from January 2014 charged Lantigua with eight counts of insurance fraud after officials said Lantigua fled to Venezuela and faked his own death in order to collect on life insurance policies. 

Booking photos of Daphne Simpson and JoseLantigua
Booking photos of Daphne Simpson and JoseLantigua

After leaving Venezuela, authorities say Lantigua was living at a house in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina while Simpson was waiting to collect on $9 million from those policies. Federal agents took Lantigua into custody outside a gun shop in Brevard, North Carolina, on March 21. 

Lantigua was the former owner of two Circle K Furniture stores in Jacksonville, which became a booming business in 2008, but his company mysteriously went under about the same time he was reported dead in South America.

Lantigua has also been served with Florida charges with eight counts of insurance fraud.