JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A Florida businessman who authorities say faked his own death to defraud insurance companies has pleaded guilty.

The Florida Times-Union (http://goo.gl/jMZfG3) reports that 63-year-old Jose Lantigua faces up to 50 years in prison, but prosecutors have agreed to seek less. Lantigua agreed to forfeit money or valuables to help satisfy court judgments totaling about $2.8 million.

The former owner of a Jacksonville furniture business, Lantigua admitted to concocting a story with his wife that he had mad cow disease and was traveling to Venezuela for treatment. According to his plea agreement, he went there to obtain a fake death certificate. He was arrested last year in North Carolina while applying for a passport in another man’s name.

Lantigua’s wife pleaded guilty last month to her part in the scam.