A former executive of collapsed Chesterfield-based lender Live Well Financial has reached a settlement to end a dispute with the company’s bankruptcy estate.
Eric Rohr, who served as the firm’s CFO from 2008 to 2018, last week struck a deal with trustee David Carickhoff.
Rohr was among a group of defendants in a sweeping complaint filed by the trustee last summer in attempt to recoup hundreds of millions of dollars for Live Well’s creditors.
In targeting Rohr, the trustee sought to hold him financially responsible for his role in the alleged bond pricing scheme that led to Live Well’s demise, and to claw back $3.5 million that was allegedly transferred to Rohr from Live Well in the company’s latter years.
Rohr ultimately agreed to pay $25,000 to the Live Well estate, as well as waive his right to make any future claims against the estate and any rights to coverage under the company’s director’s and officer’s liability insurance policy.
He also agrees to cooperate with the trustee as Carickhoff continues to dig for more funds from other insiders. That includes participating in interviews with the trustee’s camp and testifying when called.
Rohr, who could not be reached for comment, has denied the trustee’s claims, according to the settlement document. The agreement allows Rohr to settle the dispute without admitting liability.
The settlement must still be approved by the bankruptcy court. Live Well’s Chapter 7 case is playing out in Delaware, where the company had been incorporated.
Rohr was CFO at Live Well from December 2008 until December 2018, six months before it was forced into bankruptcy by three of its largest lenders.
In August 2019, Rohr pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges on a five-count indictment including securities fraud, wire fraud and bank fraud. Those charges, brought by federal prosecutors, claim Live Well wrongfully inflated the value of its reverse mortgage bond portfolio in order to induce its lenders to loan it more money than they would have normally.
Rohr’s plea deal called for his cooperation in the prosecution of Live Well founder and CEO Michael Hild, who was hit with similar charges. Hild, who pleaded not guilty, was found guilty after a 3-week jury trial last summer. He continues to try to overturn the verdict and is set to argue his case for a potential acquittal or new trial next month.
A settlement was also reached last week between the Live Well estate and Ernest Calabrese, who worked on the company’s bond trading desk from August 2014 until May 2019.
Calabrese has not been charged criminally or civilly by any federal authority related to Live Well, nor was he formally sued by the bankruptcy trustee.
Despite that, Calabrese and his wife agreed to pay $43,000 to the estate based on the trustee’s assertion that bonuses paid by Live Well to Calabrese were made using inflated bond values.
The trustee remains in dispute with other defendants. Among them are Hild, his wife Laura and more than a dozen business entities tied to the couple, from whom Carickhoff is seeking to recoup a total of $110 million in damages. The trustee alleges that Hild looted the once fast-growing reverse mortgage company by masterminding the scheme and that Laura helped her husband in hiding the proceeds by parking them in LLCs, which were all in Laura’s name.
The Hilds have yet to file a response to the trustee’s complaint.
The trustee also has sued Darren Stumberger, Live Well’s former head bond trader who has pleaded guilty to the same charges as Hild and Rohr and acted as a key witness in the Hild case. Stumberger also awaits sentencing in his criminal case and has yet to file a response in the bankruptcy matter.