FOX UNDERCOVER (MyFoxBoston.com) -- The high-flying West Roxbury business man accused of running one of the biggest investment schemes in local history would spend 10-12 years behind bars if he pleaded guilty, he learned from a judge today.
Steven Palladino, 56, is expected to plead guilty next Tuesday to charges that he siphoned millions of dollars from friends, family members and others who invested with his company, Viking Financial Group. A Suffolk Superior Court judge told him in a court hearing today what his fate would be.
His son, Gregory Palladino, 28, is also expected to plead guilty next week and would receive a one-year jail sentence.
His wife, Lori Palladino, 52, has not indicated she would plead guilty but she may change her tune after learning today that she would face no jail time.
Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley has called the investors' losses "staggering" and said the case was "among the largest investment scams we've seen since Charles Ponzi's scheme right here in Boston almost 100 years ago."
Palladino promised clients big returns for low-risk investments by loaning money to borrowers, but authorities say very little of the money was loaned and instead went into the Palladino family's pocket to fund a lavish lifestyle including hundreds of thousands of dollars spent at casinos, vacations, luxury vehicles and tuition.
"He kept taking our money and all the while unbeknownst to me and virtually all the other investors, there were no mortgages, maybe there was one or two. There was nothing," alleged victim Kenneth Nasif, a retired judge, said in court today.
Other victims, many of whom knew the Palladinos personally, spoke angrily about watching the family burn through money that they and prosecutors now say was stolen from them.
"He's been just reckless, spending must money in ways that we would never think of spending the money we worked so hard for," alleged victim, Robert Ward, told the judge.
"We saw the Mercedes and the BMWs and your families, we saw your extramarital escapades that we fellows kept quiet of course," said another alleged victim, Ron Nasif. "Celtics tickets, courtside. Always flying first-class. Remember the SuperBowl? I took my sons (flying) coach. You took your sons first-class. And I paid for it."