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Hingham woman accused of fraud won't be imprisoned

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  February 27, 2013 01:09 PM

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A Hingham resident held on house arrest for the past year on fraud and identity charges will not face jail time, a judge decided Monday.

According to the clerk’s office at Plymouth Superior Court in Brockton, 65-year-old Wanpen Florentine pled guilty to applying for a false license and pled guilty to one of eight counts of mortgage fraud. The other seven charges, all involving mortgage fraud, were dismissed.

Judge Carol Ball sentenced Florentine to two years at the Plymouth House of Correction, but the sentence was suspended in favor of a two-year probation.

“I’m not sure what her plans are,” said Stephen Novick, Florentine’s criminal attorney. “But she’s obviously glad this is over and happy with the outcome. She feels vindicated. She’s 65-years-old. There wont be any problems from her. She had no record.”

Florentine, known to neighbors and business associates as Penny Collins, was arrested in March 2012 after police received a tip that the Hingham mother and landlord may have several aliases.

An investigation turned up that Florentine had obtained two Massachusetts drivers’ licenses and had registered to vote in Hingham under two names.

A subsequent search of Florentine’s house on Crooked Meadow Lane turned up five Social Security cards with different names, two resident alien cards with different names with her photo, a photocopy of an additional resident alien card and Social Security number, 11 Massachusetts driver’s licenses with her photo, 11 credit cards, six US passports with her photo, and multiple bank books and checkbooks.

Names on the cards and documents included Penny Collins, Penny Siridee, Wanpen Collins, Laciga Rachaisri, Wanpen S.J. Collins, and Hieng Kridaratikon, Hingham police said.

Florentine was arrested on March 1, and returned home after posting $25,000 cash bail. She has been under house arrest for the last year.

Yet according to her attorney, the multiple names were the result of three marriages and subsequent name changes, all of which were legally done.

“This is a woman who has been in this country 40-plus years, has been a citizen since 1978, lived in Hingham since the mid '80s, all her kids went to school there,” Novick said. “This is not someone out of the blue….she’s been there forever.”

Novick called the initial details of the investigation “misleading,” and said Florentine had just saved old passports and licenses.

“When it was all over, it was a lot about not much,” he said.

Although Florentine’s house arrest was lifted on Monday, Florentine still had her liquor license for Jack’s Café removed by the town last April.

Florentine was in additional trouble for owning an affordable housing condo at 23 Ridgewood Crossing, and had four families living in her single-family home.

Florentine had previously agreed to turn the back into a single family. As for her other properties, “a couple buildings were sold but it has nothing to do with the case,” Novick said.

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