Former Live Well Financial CFO Eric Rohr will avoid prison time for his role in artificially inflating the value of the reverse mortgage lender’s bonds. The lesser sentence follows Rohr’s guilty plea and cooperation with federal authorities in the prosecution of the company’s former CEO.
The decision was handed down this week by Judge Ronnie Abrams in the Southern District Court of New York (SDNY) and sentences Rohr to time served on all five counts against him. Rohr will also be under supervised release for three years on each count, with all counts to run concurrently.
The decision recognizes the role Rohr played in the case against former Live Well CEO Michael Hild, who was sentenced earlier this year to 44 months in prison. Hild is currently appealing the decision and contends that he was not the beneficiary of adequate counsel during his 2021 trial.
During Rohr’s sentencing on May 11, Assistant U.S. Attorney Scott Hartman described for Judge Abrams the important role played by Rohr in his cooperation with the government.
“Trials are often very much about sort of an old chief concept. That the jury has to both be convinced that the government is factually right, but also that the conviction is morally right,” Hartman said, according to a transcript of the proceeding obtained by RichmondBizSense. “And I think one of the things that Mr. Rohr’s testimony did was it convinced the jury that the conviction was morally right because he testified very powerfully about his own realization that he had done things that were wrong.”
Hartman said crimes of this nature are hard to detect and prove, and that Rohr’s contribution to the case should be weighed against his role, a request consistent with the U.S. government’s sentencing submission, according to court documents.
“Rohr’s cooperation was extensive, and ranged from providing historical details about the scheme to his testimony at trial, all of which provided substantial assistance in the investigation and prosecution of Hild,” Hartman wrote in the sentencing submission. “In addition, Rohr’s cooperation and his acceptance of responsibility has been unwavering since he initially proffered with the Government– notwithstanding the length of the proceedings against Hild.”
Rohr addressed the court, stating that he regrets both his actions and crimes but does not regret being caught.
“In many ways, being caught allowed me to liberate myself from my lack of accountability,” he said.
Judge Abrams recognized Rohr’s contribution when handing down the sentence.
“Most defendants show remorse after being caught, after being charged,” Abrams said. “One of the things that makes this case different, and I think in Mr. Hartman’s words ‘exceptional,’ is that Mr. Rohr did so before he was caught.”
Abrams also noted the stream of events that occurred while Rohr was employed at Live Well, recounting that Rohr told Hild he was planning on leaving the company before asking Hild to reduce his own compensation to free up liquidity for Live Well. When Hild refused, Rohr left the company, according to Abrams.
Rohr will be required to make restitution payments as part of the judgment, but the total amount has not been determined. Rohr’s attorney described the financial consequences of the restitution as “significant.”
The government said previously that Hild, along with Rohr and former Live Well EVP Darren Stumberger, would be “jointly and severally liable” for $69,853,850.20 in restitution.
Like Rohr, Stumberger pled guilty and cooperated with federal authorities in the case. He was originally slated to be sentenced on Thursday, but that proceeding was delayed and has not yet been rescheduled.
Hild, on the other hand, is currently waging an appeal of his sentencing, and his legal team has clashed with the government over the amount of restitution owed. Hild has been granted bail by Judge Abrams pending the outcome of his appeal, as the judge said Hild is neither a flight risk nor a danger to his community.