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Hingham woman faces mortgage fraud charges

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  June 28, 2012 12:55 PM

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A Hingham woman on house arrest and facing several identity charges through Hingham District Court will be in court again, this time on charges of mortgage fraud.

According to the Bridget Middleton, a spokesman for the Plymouth County District Attorney’s office, Wanpen Florentine will face one count of procuring a falsified operating license, and eight counts of mortgage fraud through Plymouth Superior Court.

The charges of use, possession, or procuring of a falsified driver’s license on various dates from 1982 in the town of Hingham.

The eight mortgage-fraud charges come from different dates ranging from 2008 through 2011, and are for properties in Hingham and Rockland.

Officials could not specify to which property in Hingham those town charges applied.

Her arraignment date has not yet been set.

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

The 62-year-old Florentine, known to neighbors as Penny Collins, initially got into trouble with the law in February of this year, when police received a tip that she may have several identities.

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

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 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 bankbooks 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.

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

Her liquor license was taken away by the town on April 12.

In February, police had also discovered that Florentine had multiple tenants in her Crooked Meadow Lane home, which was rebuilt after a fire in 2007 and is currently assessed at $1.8 million, according to town records.

Firefighters had responded again to the home after an allegedly illegal wood stove created high carbon monoxide levels. It was then that police discovered the additional tenants.

By the end of February, Florentine had already been to housing court and signed an agreement to return the Crooked Meadow home back to a single-family dwelling.

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

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

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

Sometimes, district attorneys will indict a suspect on a more tightened set of charges in superior court that are in relation to those going through district court.

It is unclear if the District court charges will be dropped or will be carried through, however Florentine will now face a grand jury investigation on her most recent charges.

In a grand jury investigation, the District Attorney's office investigates alongside local police, whereas district court cases generally are investigated solely by local police officers.

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