Former Live Well CEO Granted More Time to Answer Civil Charges

The former CEO of defunct reverse mortgage lender Live Well Financial has been granted additional time to respond to civil charges levied against him and his former company by the federal government.

Michael Hild, charged in a $140 million bond fraud scheme on both civil and criminal fronts, was granted an additional 30 days to respond to charges levied against him in connection with the alleged scheme by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), according to reporting by Richmond Biz Sense and court documents obtained by RMD.

The original date for Hild to respond was given when charges were initially filed, set at October 29, 2019. In a letter dated that day, Hild’s attorneys submitted a request to the court to delay the deadline to November 29 “for good cause,” according to the letter. In a copy of the original letter containing handwritten notes by presiding Judge Alison Nathan, she granted the request made by attorney Michael Rella of law firm Murphy & McGonigle based in New York, N.Y.

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The civil charges Hild is facing echo criminal charges filed against him at the end of the summer, which precipitated his arrest by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and charges filed by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York.

“Hild’s ‘self-generating money machine’ was a brazen fraud through which Hild enriched himself at the expense of Live Well’s counterparties,” said Daniel Michael, Chief of the SEC’s Complex Financial Instruments Unit in a statement upon Hild’s arrest in late August. “This case starkly underscores the risks of improperly valuing assets, and we will remain focused on pursuing those who misrepresent the value of their securities.”

The criminal and civil counts against Hild and Live Well include one count each of conspiracy to commit securities fraud; of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud; of securities fraud; of wire fraud and of bank fraud. In the criminal case, Hild faces a maximum possible sentence of 115 years in prison, and the charges carry a maximum fine of $5 million, according to the United States Attorney’s Office.

The federal government has also separately charged two other former Live Well executives, CFO Eric Rohr and EVP Darren Stumberger. These charges were unsealed in concert with Hild’s arrest, and both men have pleaded guilty and are cooperating with authorities, according to an August statement.

This is the latest in a series of unfolding events concerning the abrupt closure of Live Well Financial, which RMD learned about on May 3. The closure was followed by more than 100 lay-offs at the company’s Richmond, Va. headquarters, which led to the filing of a class action lawsuit from a former employee attempting to recover lost wages. Live Well intends to challenge that suit.

Hild has entered a plea of “not guilty” in the criminal case against him. The date of the criminal trial has been set for October 13, 2020.

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