The trial of Michael C. Hild — the former CEO of defunct reverse mortgage lender Live Well Financial — for an alleged bond fraud scheme has been delayed by six months, due to complications arising from the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. This is according to original reporting by RichmondBizSense and court documents obtained by RMD.
According to a letter submitted to New York Southern District Judge Ronnie Abrams by Hild’s attorney Benjamin Dusing in July, the logistical hurdles that have been added by the pandemic to the complex case make a delay in the proceedings by six months prudent, Dusing says. He has made his request in consultation with attorneys representing the federal government, who have agreed with the necessity for a delay, he writes.
“This matter is extremely document-intensive and additional time is required for the defense to review the voluminous discovery produced by the government (in excess of 4 million documents), such that Mr. Hild can adequately prepare his defense,” Dusing writes in his letter to Judge Abrams. “Second, the preparation of Mr. Hild’s defense was severely disrupted by the public health situation occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the legal and practical restrictions brought about as a result.”
The case’s complexity also requires “extensive face-to-face interaction,” further complicated by travel restrictions and other factors that have not allowed for even virtual meetings “for many months,” Dusing writes. The transfer of appropriate files that was necessary since Hild enlisted Dusing as his attorney have also been disrupted by the ongoing effects of the pandemic, compounding the present issues.
The Southern District Court of New York is also undergoing a phased reopening plan due to the pandemic, and a revised trial date in April would meet the Court’s stated objective in said plan, Dusing explains.
Judge Abrams granted Dusing’s request, and the trial will now take place on April 12, 2021, with a final pretrial conference to take place on April 8.
This is the latest in a series of unfolding events concerning the abrupt closure of Live Well Financial, which RMD learned about in May of 2019. After a series of lay-offs and other lawsuits, Hild was arrested by the FBI for the alleged bond fraud scheme and charged by federal authorities, before being released on an unsecured bond.
Hild entered a “not guilty” plea shortly after his arrest. At the beginning of the year, Hild dismissed his legal defense team in favor of hiring Mr. Dusing, a friend and former classmate, to represent him at the upcoming trial.
Read the story at RichmondBizSense.