The federal government would look to seize dozens of properties in and around Manchester, as well as a new brewery, donut shop and café on Hull Street, if it’s successful in prosecuting local mortgage executive Michael Hild.
New documents filed late last week in the criminal case against the embattled founder and CEO of Chesterfield-based Live Well Financial list in detail the assets owned by Hild and his wife, which the government claims “constitute proceeds of Hild’s fraudulent scheme.”
Hild, who ran Live Well until its collapse into bankruptcy this summer, was arrested last month on counts of securities fraud, mail fraud and bank fraud.
The 44-year-old has pleaded not guilty and remains free on a $500,000 bond. His only comment publicly since his arrest last month has been through his attorneys, who stated “every business failure is not a corporate crime.”
A trial is set for October 2020.
The government had stated in previous court documents that it obtained a post-indictment restraining order to preserve assets owned directly and indirectly by Hild. But a full, specific list of the assets it is targeting was not filed in online court records until Friday.
Among the “forfeitable assets” that the government would plan to grab if Hild is found guilty are 29 properties in the Manchester, Blackwell and Swansboro neighborhoods in South Richmond.
Included on that list is an assemblage at 2005 Hull St., anchored by the former Siegel’s Supermarket building, which was listed for sale earlier this year for $12 million and the subject of a pending rezoning request.
Hild and his wife, Laura Dyer Hild, who is not charged in the criminal proceedings, acquired the properties for a combined $3.98 million in the last several years, while announcing business ventures they had in mind for some of the parcels.
Some of those ventures since have opened for business and are also on the government’s list of assets procured using allegedly ill-gotten funds. That includes The Butterbean Market & Café, Dogtown Brewing Co. and Hot Diggity Donuts, all of which are open on Hull Street.
The government also wants the ownership interests in LLCs related to the Hilds’ various businesses, including Gardenia LLC and Church Hill Ventures LLC, both of which the Hilds used to acquire their Southside real estate. Both of those entities are now in Laura Hild’s name, according to state records.
Also on the list is their Anderson’s Neck Oyster Co., Climax Beverage Co. and Urban Bleat Cheese Co., a fledgling goat cheese venture that lists its address as 1427 Hull St., one of the properties the government wants to seize.
In addition to the Siegel’s site, the bulk of the rest of the parcels the government is eyeing for forfeiture were also put up for sale by the Hilds in a separate listing last year.
Another recently unsealed document in the case includes an affidavit from Special Agent William Bolander of the FBI, who detailed his squad’s investigation of the Hild matter. It alleges that the scheme illicitly netted $65 million from lenders by fraudulently inflating the value of Live Well’s portfolio of complex reverse-mortgage bonds to induce lenders to loan the company tens of millions of dollars more than they normally would have.
“Hild personally obtained at least $20 million in proceeds from the scheme,” documents state. “Hild then utilized those crime proceeds to purchase various real estate and business interests.”
A former Capital One executive, Hild launched Live Well on April Fool’s Day 2005, eventually basing the company in the Boulders office park in Chesterfield.
The company, which originated, wholesaled and serviced reverse mortgages, grew to be listed among the region’s fastest-growing businesses as recently as 2014.
The company had upwards of 300 employees at one point, including at an office in San Diego, before collapsing with little notice or explanation in May.
He also is facing civil charges filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission, to which he has yet to respond. The not-guilty plea does not apply to the civil charges.
Also charged in both the criminal and civil cases are Live Well CFO Eric Rohr and Executive Vice President Darren Stumberger. They have pleaded guilty in the criminal case and have consented to partial judgements on the civil matter. They are both cooperating with authorities.