Steven Palladino, his wife, and his son all pleaded guilty today to playing roles in a Ponzi scheme that cost friends, acquaintances, and one veterans’ organization millions of dollars, much of which may never be recovered.
With a number of their victims looking on, Steven Palladino led the way for his West Roxbury clan, pleading guilty in Suffolk Superior Court to charges that essentially identified him as the main player in the Ponzi scheme that operated through a financial firm called Viking Financial Group.
He was followed by his wife, Lori, and then his son, Gregory, who also pleaded guilty to charges linking them to the scheme, but in a lesser capacity than Steven Palladino, who authorities allege used the money to finance a lifestyle that included money for his mistress.
Authorities have estimated the scheme led by Palladino drained $10 million or more from at least 42 victims.
“Well over $10 million … were lost to this scam, but how do you put a price tag on your parents’ retirement account or your children’s college fund? The true cost is incalculable,’’ Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said in a statement. “This massive loss is bad enough, but it’s made even worse by what the investments were spent on: gambling debts, luxury vacations, top-of-the line cars, five-star restaurants, and Steven Palladino’s mistresses. There was no legitimate business: it was an out-and-out scam perpetrated by Steven Palladino and abetted by his wife and son.’’
Judge Janet Sanders sentenced Steven Palladino to 10 to 12 years in prison, followed by five years of probation during which he must pay restitution. Sanders sentenced Lori Palladino to two years in the house of correction, suspended for a period of five years, during which time she must pay restitution. Sanders sentenced Gregory Palladino to two years in the house of correction, as well as five years of probation and ordered him to pay restitution, prosecutors said.
Viking, the company, was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay restitution.