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Hingham

No jail after plea in ID fraud case

WANPEN FLORENTINE

WANPEN FLORENTINE

A Hingham resident held under house arrest for the past year while facing multiple fraud and false-identity allegations will not face jail time after pleading guilty to two charges, a judge decided Monday.

According to the clerk’s office at Plymouth Superior Court in Brockton, Wanpen Florentine pleaded guilty to applying for a false license and to one charge of mortgage fraud. Seven other counts of mortgage fraud were dismissed.

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

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

Florentine, known to neighbors and business associates as Penny Collins, was arrested last March in a case that grew out a dispute with her tenants at a Ridgewood Crossing home.

An investigation found that Florentine had obtained two Massachusetts driver’s licenses, and had registered to vote in Hingham under two names.

A subsequent search of her house on Crooked Meadow Lane turned up five Social Security cards with different names, two resident alien cards with her photo but 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 bank books and checkbooks.

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

After her arrest, Florentine was released after posting $25,000 cash bail, and was placed under house arrest.

According to her lawyer, 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-’80. 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 reports about the investigation “misleading,” and said Florentine had just saved all of her old passports and licenses.

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

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