Indictment Charges Florida Man with Passport Fraud
Defendant’s Wife Also Faces Federal Charges for Lying to Federal Authorities
This information is from the U.S. Attorney's Office and is about a joint investigation that the Florida Division of Insurance fraud worked on.
ASHEVILLE, N.C. - Jose Salvador Lantigua, 62, of Jacksonville, Florida, has been
charged with passport fraud and aggravated identity theft, announced Jill Westmoreland Rose,
Acting U.S. Attorney for the Western District of North Carolina. His wife, Daphne Sylvia
Simpson, 57, of Shapphire, N.C., has also been charged with one count of making false
statements to a federal agent in connection with the case.
Scott Moretti, Special Agent in Charge of the Washington Field Office, U.S.
Department of State, Diplomatic Security Service; B.W. Collier, Acting Director of the North
Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (NC SBI); Steven M. Watkins, Director of the North
Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles License and Theft Bureau (NC DMV L&T); Sheriff Chip
Hall of the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office; and Chief Phil Harris, of the Brevard Police
Department join Acting U.S. Attorney Rose in making the announcement.
According to allegations contained in the federal indictment, on or about November 18,
2014, Lantigua lied on his application for a U.S. passport, falsely representing that his name was
"Ernest Allen Wills." According to court records, to support his passport application, Lantigua
allegedly provided a birth certificate in the name "Ernest Allen Wills," and, as proof of identity,
Lantigua allegedly used a fraudulently-obtained North Carolina license issued in the victim’s
name but bearing Lantigua’s photo. Court records show that Lantigua is the subject of an
ongoing investigation in Florida, for allegedly faking his own death to fraudulently obtain life
insurance money. The indictment charges Lantigua with one count of knowingly making a false
statement on a passport and one count of aggravated identity theft. Law enforcement arrested
Lantigua in Brevard, N.C., on March 21, 2015, and he remains in federal custody.
Lantigua’s wife, Daphne Simpson, has also been charged with one count of making a
false statement to law enforcement. According to allegations contained in the indictment,
Simpson lied when she told a special agent that the man who was with her at the time was
"Ernest Wills" who was her "friend," when Simpson knew that the man was actually her
husband, Lantigua. Simpson was arrested in Florida on March 21, 2015, by the Florida Division
of Insurance Fraud and currently remains in state custody. Simpson is facing insurance fraud
and related state charges for filing fraudulent insurance claims and receiving a $500,000 payout
from one of Lantigua’s life insurance policies. The federal court in Asheville will schedule
Simpson’s initial appearance on the federal charges in the coming days.
If convicted of the offenses, Lantigua faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a
$250,000 fine for the passport fraud charge. The aggravated identity theft charge carries a
minimum mandatory sentence of two years to be served consecutively with any other sentence
imposed. Simpson faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine for the false
The charges contained in the indictment are allegations. The defendants are presumed
innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The investigation is being handled by the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security
Service, assisted by NC-SBI, NC DMV L&T, Jackson Co. Sheriff’s Office and Brevard PD.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Don Gast, of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Asheville, is prosecuting the case.