A West Roxbury woman accused of participating in a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme along with her husband pleaded not guilty today to 15 charges, including allegations the couple misused a $100,000 investment to buy property for themselves.
Lori Palladino was released on personal recognizance and $1 million surety following her arraignment in Suffolk Superior Court before Trial Magistrate Gary D. Wilson. Palladino, who left the courthouse accompanied by her attorney, Philip A. Tracy Jr., declined to comment.
“She was the bookkeeper. And if she wasn’t the wife of the principal, I don’t know if she would have been included in this indictment,’’ Tracy told reporters. “But nevertheless, she is the bookkeeper and that’s it. She did not conduct the business that is in question.’’
Lori Palladino and her husband, Steven, are accused of running a Ponzi scheme through their company Viking Financial Group Inc., targeting their friends and business associates. They claimed to be a private lending company that borrowed from investors and loaned that money out at a higher interest rate.
But Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office alleged that the money was instead used by the Palladinos to pay interest to existing investors and buy vacations, cars, gambling trips, their children’s education, and rent and gifts for Steven’s mistress.
“If you think of Steven as the person who was the public face of the company, Lori handle(d) the back office,’’ Goldberger said in court. “She signs the overwhelming majority of the checks written on the Viking account.’’
Lori Palladino is listed as the president of Viking Financial.
Steven Palladino is free on $250,000 cash bail after he pleaded not guilty to 11 charges relating to the alleged scheme. Palladino, 55, who has more than a dozen theft-related convictions on his record, was charged with four counts of larceny over $250, three counts of falsifying corporate books, one count of uttering, and three counts of loansharking.
He is also charged as a common and notorious thief.
Among other allegations, the couple is accused of misdirecting an $100,000 investment to purchase the property at 29 Kittredge St., a two-family in Boston.
Tracy declined to comment when asked whether Lori Palladino was aware that her husband had a mistress.