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Lenders

Former Live Well CEO seeks to avoid prison time as sentencing looms

Judge Ronnie Abrams is scheduled to sentence the former Live Well CEO over a bond fraud scheme

Sentencing for Michael Hild, the former Live Well CEO, is now scheduled for January 27, and lawyers for Hild and the U.S. government are making their cases for what each believes to be the appropriate sentence.

Hild is asking the judge for a sentence of probation, while the government is pushing for 15 years in prison.

In a letter submitted to Judge Abrams by Hild’s attorney, the defense contends that Hild’s history and personal characteristics “weigh heavily in favor of leniency.” There is no need for specific deterrence, the letter states, as Hild and his wife “have dedicated themselves to revitalizing the local environment and economy” and aimed to “revitalize” housing and atmosphere in Richmond.

In addition to the letter from Hild’s attorney, there are various letters from family members and friends attesting to Hild’s character. The letter compares this case to others argued in the Southern District Court of New York. Portions of a 2016 interview with HousingWire appear in the letter.

“To the extent sentences of three or four years were appropriate in these cases, a sentence of probation, or alternatively, a sentence of imprisonment shorter than the low end of the Shadow Guidelines range (37 months) would be a fair and just sentence for Michael,” the letter states.

Prosecutors, on the other hand, are seeking a far stricter sentence for Hild — though it is well below the standard guidelines for sentencing in the case.

“The Government agrees that a guidelines sentence of [26 to 34 years] is unwarranted and does not ask for such a sentence,” the letter to the judge from the prosecution states. “But given the serious nature of the defendant’s criminal conduct and the need for deterrence, to promote respect for the law, and for just punishment, the Government believes that a substantial sentence of incarceration like the sentence of [15 years’] imprisonment recommended by the Probation Office is necessary and appropriate to achieve the goals of sentencing.”

The government also states in its letter that Hild showed a lack of remorse for the situation and committed perjury during his testimony.

According to the federal prosecutors, “Hild personally derived over $20 million dollars in criminal profits from his scheme, and he obstructed justice by lying extensively to the jury while under oath from the witness stand. His egregious misconduct and lies warrant a significant sentence.”

Hild was found guilty in April 2021 of playing a role in a scheme that artificially inflated the value of Live Well Financial’s bonds. Hild has attempted to either have the verdict overturned or to commence a new trial following the judgment in the case, but Judge Abrams rejected those requests last month, paving the way for sentencing to take place.

Sentencing will take place on January 27.