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.