SEC case against Hild put on hold in favor of criminal charges

LiveWell CEO Michael Hild (BizSense file photo)

As he awaits trial on criminal fraud charges tied to an alleged bond scheme, local mortgage executive and real estate developer Michael Hild has one less legal issue to deal with for the time being.

Federal prosecutors were granted approval last week to have the civil charges filed against Hild by the Securities and Exchange Commission put on hold.

The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York filed the so-called motion to intervene, arguing that the criminal case should take precedent for now over the civil claims, mainly because allegations in both cases are related.

The temporary hold on the case also applies to Live Well Financial, Hild’s defunct reverse mortgage lender which also was named as a defendant by the SEC. The hold does not apply to Live Well’s ongoing bankruptcy liquidation, which will continue as usual.

Live Well abruptly shut down in early May. (BizSense file photo)

Last week’s decision means the SEC case is put on hold at least until the conclusion of Hild’s criminal proceeding, which is scheduled for trial in federal court in Manhattan in October 2020. He’s charged with securities fraud, mail fraud and bank fraud, based on the government’s claim that he steered a scheme to fraudulently inflate 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 was arrested on the charges in Richmond on Aug. 29, but remains free until the trial on bond, which required he surrender his passport and not leave the state other than for legal matters in New York.

Hild has pleaded not guilty in the criminal case, arguing that, “While Live Well unfortunately failed, every business failure is not a corporate crime.”

Meanwhile in Manchester and elsewhere on the city’s Southside, entities tied to Hild and his wife are set to auction off 10 properties they purchased with the idea of redeveloping them. The auction is scheduled for Dec. 17

The ownership entities sought and received permission from the federal government to sell the properties in accordance with a post-indictment restraining order the government put in place to preserve assets owned directly and indirectly by Hild while his case plays out.

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