A Suffolk County grand jury on Wednesday returned new indictments charging three members of the Palladino family of West Roxbury and Viking Financial Group, the corporation of which they were the sole employees with larceny for allegedly stealing upwards of $10 million from dozens of victims.
The new charges were the first brought against Gregory Palladino, 28, Steven and Lori Palladino's son, in the ongoing case that continues to grow and grow, with the latest allegations of some of the victims including seven older than 60, according to a press release from Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley.
The latest indictments charge Steven Palladino, born Sept. 11, 1957, Lori Palladino, 52, and Gregory Palladino, with one count each of larceny over $250 and larceny over $250 from a person over 60. They also charged Steven, Lori, and Gregory Palladino with conspiracy to commit larceny, and charged Gregory Palladino with three counts of usury and one count of tampering with evidence.
The grand jury also moved an additional recent usury case against Steven Palladino from district court to Suffolk Superior Court.
The new larceny indictments supersede prior indictments against Steven Palladino, Lori Palladino, and Viking, consolidating and streamlining the prosecution of those offenses, which had previously alleged a lesser amount of theft from fewer victims 0 but those totals of victims and money have continued to go up.
Prosecutors allege that Steven, Lori, and Gregory Palladino used Viking Financial Group to obtain more than $10 million in investments from some 42 individuals, families, and groups, in an overarching Ponzi scheme.
“This is among the largest investment scams we’ve seen since Charles Ponzi’s scheme right here in Boston almost 100 years ago,” said Conley. “The losses here are staggering, and many of the victims are ordinary men and women who have seen their assets disappear overnight.”
Prosecutors allege the accused told investors their funds would be used to make secured loans to borrowers at a higher interest rate than Viking would pay its investors. Viking would keep the difference, the Palladinos allegedly said, according to prosecutors, allowing it to make money while providing a high yield, low-risk investment to the investors. But very little of the money was used for loans, but instead funded a lavish lifestyle for the Palladinos.
Transactions show investors’ money was often transferred from Viking’s account into personal accounts held by the Palladinos and used to cover personal expenses including luxury vehicles - like the one Steven Palladino was recently arrested in. Funds were also allegedly used for a vacation in the Bahamas, rent for Steven Palladino’s mistress, and hundreds of thousands of dollars paid to casinos to cover apparent gambling losses, prosecutors said.
The indictments of the defendants are charged as follows, according to the Suffolk County D.A.'s office:
- Steven Palladino: One count each of larceny over $250, larceny over $250 from a person over 60, and conspiracy to commit larceny; two counts each of uttering a false document and tampering with evidence; three counts of making false entry on corporate books; and four counts of usury;
- Lori Palladino: One count each of larceny over $250, larceny over $250 from a person over 60, and conspiracy to commit larceny; two counts each of uttering a false document and tampering with evidence; three counts each of making false entry on corporate books and usury;
- Gregory Palladino: One count each of larceny over $250, larceny over $250 from a person over 60, conspiracy to commit larceny, and tampering with evidence; and three counts of usury; and
- Viking Financial Group: One count each of larceny over $250, larceny over $250 from a person over 60, and tampering with evidence; two counts of uttering; and three counts of usury.