Accused Ponzi scheme operator now accused of being a loan shark by Suffolk prosecutors
Josh Reynolds/Globe Staff
A West Roxbury man accused of running a Ponzi scheme and using the proceeds to finance a luxury lifestyle is facing new charges, this time of demanding loan shark-level interest from a Franklin businesswoman he loaned money in Febuary, authorities said.
Steven Palladino appeared today in West Roxbury Municipal Court, where he pleaded not guilty to one count of usury. Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office said the charge was based on Palladino demanding that the woman pay him 40 percent interest on a $25,000 loan.
Palladino allegedly sent the woman voicemails and text messages demanding $30,000 to pay off the original loan, plus interest. According to prosecutors, Palladino was effectively charging the woman 40 percent interest on a six-month loan — double the amount allowable under current state law.
Palladino, who was arrested by Boston police at a West Roxbury gas station driving a 2012 Mercedes Benz worth an estimated $90,000, is currently free on $250,000 cash bail for a string of charges in Suffolk Superior Court alleging he ran a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme that financed a lavish lifestyle for himself, his wife and his mistress. He is also being prosecuted as an alleged common and notorious thief because of prior convictions
Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Benjamin Goldberger today asked West Roxbury Municipal Court Judge Michael Coyne to revoke Palladino’s bail. The judge denied that request but set bail at $25,000 cash for the 55-year-old Palladino.
Also charged in the Ponzi scheme case is his wife, Lori, who has pleaded not guilty to 15 charges stemming from her role as the bookkeeper for Viking Financial Group Inc., the company the couple allegedly used to run their scheme.
Palladino is due back in the West Roxbury court on Oct. 7 on the latest charges. He is slated to appear in Suffolk Superior Court on the earlier charges on Sept. 30, according to prosecutors.John R. Ellement can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe.