Steven Palladino, already under indictment with his wife for an alleged Ponzi scheme they ran from atop their West Roxbury ice-cream shop, was arraigned today on a charge of usury for allegedly trying to force a local businesswoman to repay a loan at 40% interest - twice the maximum allowed under state law.
According to the DA's office, today's charge relates to a loan Palladino's Viking Financial Group gave the Franklin owner of a construction company in February - weeks before he and his wife Lori were indicted on charges they attempted to repay initial investors in the company with payments from later investors.
In the latest case, Viking allegedly paid out two checks totaling $25,000 to a Franklin woman who co-owns a construction company in February. On Aug. 11, Steven Palladino allegedly began calling and texting the loan recipient, claiming that the loan was due on Aug. 1 and demanding $30,000 in repayment.
The victim contacted Boston Police, who yesterday apprehended Palladino in his 2012 Mercedes CLS 63 AMG Coupe at a West Roxbury gas station. In his pockets were wads of cash totaling $4,395 and a check to the Viking Financial Group for $3,499.47.
Palladino had bail set at $25,000 in West Roxbury District Court, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports, adding a judge declined its request to revoke his bail on the earlier Ponzi charges.