Hild sentencing date pushed back after he hires new lawyer

Michael Hild’s sentencing for fraud charges related to a bond pricing scam has been delayed until Sept. 10. (BizSense file)

Michael Hild will get to wait a little longer to find out what his punishment will be after being found guilty of a massive bond pricing scam that toppled his Chesterfield-based mortgage company Live Well Financial.

Hild’s sentencing date for his criminal conviction has been pushed back at least three weeks, a result of him changing attorneys last week.

He was initially set to be sentenced in Manhattan federal court on Aug. 20. The hearing now is scheduled for Sept. 10.

Hild remains free on bond.

The extra time comes with Hild’s hiring of attorney Brian Jacobs of New York City law firm Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello.

Jacobs replaces Benjamin Dusing, a childhood friend of Hild’s whose law firm is based in Kentucky, where the two grew up. Dusing represented Hild during the three-week trial that ended April 30 with a jury finding Hild guilty on all counts he faced.

No reason was given in court filings for the attorney swap.

The extension on the sentencing date was granted by U.S. District Court Judge Ronnie Abrams after Jacobs asked for extra time to review the voluminous documents involved in the case. Jacobs officially made his appearance in the case May 12.

Jacobs declined to comment when reached by phone Friday afternoon.

Hild was found guilty of five charges, including securities fraud, mail fraud and bank fraud, which call for a combined maximum of 115 years in prison and maximum fine of $5 million. Federal prosecutors and Hild’s defense team will each get to argue their preferred length of sentence prior to the Sept. 10 hearing, though the call ultimately will be up to the judge.

It’s unclear whether Hild plans to file in an appeal in the case.

Hild was first arrested and charged in 2019, with the government claiming he helped mastermind a scheme to defraud the company’s lenders by falsely inflating the value of a portfolio of reverse mortgage bonds, in order to induce the lenders into loaning more money to Live Well than they otherwise would have.

Two of Hild’s former lieutenants  — former Live Well CFO Eric Rohr and head bond trader Darren Stumberger — pleaded guilty to similar charges and cooperated with the government as key witnesses in the trial.

Stumberger is set to be sentenced June 18. Rohr’s sentencing is set for Aug. 26.

Prosecutors claimed Hild personally pocketed more than $20 million as a result of the scheme from 2015-2019. The ruse collapsed in part when the true value of the bonds was discovered by Live Well’s lenders. That left the company holding debt worth far more than the purported value of the bond collateral.

Hild pleaded not guilty and left his fate in the hands of a Manhattan jury, which need only about four hours to reach a unanimous verdict after the often dramatic three-week trial.

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Ed Christina
Ed Christina
2 months ago

Very interested in any lawyers chiming in, but what’s the point of this move? Is Hild going to throw his childhood pal under the boss, have the new lawyer rase some issue and try fr a new trial or appeal?
Is this an unusual move, to change lawyers at this stage?

Matt Merica
Matt Merica
2 months ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

Possibly just a ploy to remain out on bond for another few weeks before he goes to jail for 16 years…..

Michael Dodson
Michael Dodson
2 months ago
Reply to  Matt Merica

Or got a lawyer that is good with federal appeals!

Vicki Croisetiere
Vicki Croisetiere
1 month ago
Reply to  Michael Dodson

Hild needs to be in prison. He has caused so much strife to Richmond families. He can’t delay the inevitable…a lot of years in federal prison.

Vicki Croisetiere
Vicki Croisetiere
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt Merica

Exactly. He is so afraid of going where he belongs. It may be delayed, but he’s going to prison.

Craig Davis
Craig Davis
2 months ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

Hard to argue “ineffective assistance of counsel” on appeal or a habeas petition if you’re still using the allegedly ineffective lawyer. Not that unusual to get different counsel on appeal, less frequent between conviction and sentencing but maybe the new guy specializes in sentencing guidelines issues.

Bob Law
Bob Law
2 months ago
Reply to  Ed Christina

Some lawyers do both trial and appellate work, but transitioning to a lawyer who specializes in appeals is common. If my life were on the line, it’s what I would want too.

Vicki Croisetiere
Vicki Croisetiere
1 month ago
Reply to  Bob Law

But would you have hurt so many people as Hild has?!

Steven Cohen
Steven Cohen
2 months ago

What he needs to do is strap it on and except his sentence. He did the crime, time to pay the time.

Ed Christina
Ed Christina
2 months ago
Reply to  Steven Cohen

Hild steal 20 million, gets to mess around, stay out on bail and mess around.
some people allegedly have a fake $20.00, get put to death on the street.

Vicki Croisetiere
Vicki Croisetiere
1 month ago

So desperate. It’s not his attorney’s fault that he’s in the position he’s in. We all that have been screwed over can wait because it’s not going to change his five convictions. He needs to accept reality that it’s his fault.