A U.S. Federal District Court has frozen the assets of Steven Palladino and his company, Viking Financial Group, in the latest ripple in an alleged multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme operated out of West Roxbury.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed the emergency enforcement action in federal district court on Tuesday, according to LeeAnn Gaunt, assistant regional director of the SEC's Boston regional office. (Please see the attached complaint.)
The complaint alleges that Palladino and Viking Financial Group operated a Ponzi scheme that "raised as much as $5.5 million from approximately 30 investors from as early as April 2011..."
Palladino allegedly funded a vacation to the Bahamas, rent for his mistress, and hundreds to casinos to cover gambling losses.
Palladino's wife, in the scheme, saying she was merely the bookkeeper. She was released on $1-million surety, while , and has to wear an GPS monitoring device on his ankle.
The couple were originally indicted by a Suffolk County jury March 13 on charges of four counts of larceny over $250, three counts of making false entries in corporate books, one count of uttering, and three counts of usury, commonly referred to as loan sharking. Subsequent charges were added: one count of larceny over $250 for allegedly taking money from additional, previously-uncharged victims and one count of uttering for allegedly forging an investor’s name on a check that allowed them to move victims' money into a personal bank account. Steven and Lori Palladino, and Viking Financial Group, were also charged with two counts of tampering with evidence for allegedly doing away with a computer in their Centre Street offices and for allegedly removing a device storing video images from their home surveillance system, according to the statement.
Steven Palladino is also charged as a common and notorious thief based on more than two dozen prior larceny convictions in Suffolk Superior and Norfolk Superior courts.