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Hingham’s Wanpen Florentine faces additional fraud charges

A Hingham woman under house arrest and facing several identity-fraud charges in Hingham District Court now is facing mortgage-fraud charges in another court.

According to Bridget Middleton, a spokeswoman for the Plymouth district attorney’s office, 62-year-old Wanpen Florentine will face one count of procuring a falsified operating license and eight counts of mortgage fraud.

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The charges in Plymouth Superior Court allege the use, possession, or procurement of a falsified driver’s license on various dates dating from 1982 in Hingham. The eight mortgage-fraud charges involve actions from 2008 through last year, and are for properties in Hingham and Rockland.

Officials could not specify the properties involved. Her arraignment date had not been set.

Attorney Stephen Novick, who is on file representing Florentine in these most recent charges, was not immediately available for comment.

Florentine, known to neighbors as Penny Collins, initially got into trouble with the law in February, when police received a tip that she may have several identities.

Police allegedly discovered that the Hingham resident had obtained at least two Massachusetts drivers’ licenses, and that she had registered to vote in Hingham under two names.

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According to Hingham police, a search of Florentine’s Crooked Meadow Lane home turned up five Social Security cards with different names, two resident alien cards with different names, 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 bankbooks and checkbooks.

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

Police also discovered that Florentine held the liquor license for Jack’s Café in Hingham under one of her other names, and also owned an affordable-housing condo at 23 Ridgewood Crossing under the Florentine name. Her liquor license was revoked in April.

In February, police also discovered that Florentine had multiple tenants in her Crooked Meadow Lane home. Firefighters had responded to the home after an allegedly illegal wood stove created high carbon monoxide levels. At that time, police allegedly discovered the additional tenants.

By the end of February, Florentine had gone to Housing Court and had signed an agreement to return the Crooked Meadow home to a single-family dwelling.

However, after police discovered Florentine’s several alleged identities, she was placed under arrest on March 1. She was released on March 9 and placed under house arrest.

Since then, authorities have continued to investigate Florentine to discover the extent of her alleged fraud.

Middleton wouldn’t comment on the nature of the Superior Court charges, as Florentine has not yet been arraigned.

It’s unclear whether the District Court charges will be dropped or carried through. However, Florentine will face a grand jury investigation on the most recent charges, authorities said.

Jessica Bartlett can be reached at jessica.may.bartlett@ gmail.com.

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