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After Guilty Verdict In Reverse Mortgage Fraud Trial of Hild, He Trashes Lawyer, Sentencing Delay

By Matthew Russell Lee, Patreon, Podcast

SDNY COURTHOUSE, Sept 10 – Michael Hild was arraigned for fraud on Live Well Financial's reverse mortgages and home equity conversion mortgages by U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Judge Ronnie Abrams on September 5, 2019. Inner City Press covered it, here.

  It was said Hild's sentencing would be on September 10. But on September 3 Hild submitted an affidavit trashing his trial attorney Dusing, that he refused to using funds he was given for expert witnesses, and "did not cover the subjects we have previously agreed he would in my direct examination." So still no sentencing date. Watch this site.

 On April 29, after Hild took the witness stand and claimed he was just along for the ride, an SDNY jury in less than four hours of deliberation declared him guilty on all counts. "HILD, 46, of Richmond, Virginia, was convicted of five counts:  one count of conspiracy to commit securities fraud; one count of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud; one count of securities fraud; one count of wire fraud; and one count of bank fraud." Photo here.

  Hild's post-trial motions include allegations of conflict of interest of prior counsel. Judge Abrams to her credit put into the record an email of May 7, Katy Lawrence saying Joe and Paul joked about getting KFC for lunch one day, so maybe we can cater in KFC for everyone? With covid restrictions, I wasn't sure if a mailed package of some Kentucky / Cincinnati specific items would be acceptable like Skyline chili or Graeter's ice cream (can be mailed with dry ice)."

Now on August 3 from Judge Abrams, this: "ORDER as to Michael Hild: The Government's motion to permit Defendant's prior counsel to provide statements responding to the allegations of ineffective assistance is hereby GRANTED. Dkt. 106. By separate order, the Court will sign and docket the Government's proposed order on the matter. See id. Defendant also requests that the Court order the Government to "disclose... any 'information' not previously disclosed on which the government is relying... including all past communications with prior counsel, if any, regarding the issues raised in defense counsel's post-trial motions, such as emails, text messages, and notes from telephone calls." Dkt. 111. The Court has previously issued an order confirming the Government's obligations pursuant to Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), Giglio v. United States, 405 U.S. 150 (1972), and their progeny. See Dkt. 34. The Court presumes that the Government remains well aware of these obligations and has, and will continue to, comply with them fully. The Clerk of Court is respectfully directed to terminate the motions pending at docket entries 106, 108 and 111. (Signed by Judge Ronnie Abrams on 8/3/2021)." Watch this site

On May 12, approval of new counsel for Hild, and a delay in his sentencing: "MEMO ENDORSEMENT as to Michael Hild on re: [68] LETTER MOTION filed by Michael Hild addressed to Judge Ronnie Abrams from Attorney Brian A. Jacobs dated May 12, 2021 re: Extension of Time For Post-Trial Motions and Sentencing. ENDORSEMENT: Application granted. Mr. Jacobs is substituted as counsel on behalf of Mr. Hild. The deadline to file post-trial motions is extended until July 27, 2021. The sentence date is adjourned to September 10, 2021."

 Back on April 14, Judge Abrams started the trial. Inner City Press live tweeted the morning, below, and noted that Hild worked at Capital One, and was building an empire in South Richmond which some locals denounced as gentrification. Hild, of course, has another story.

And on April 27, defendant Hild took took the witness stand, which is rare. Inner City Press tweeted, here:

Hild: At Capital One, I worked to get them into the mortgage industry.... Livewell Financial was founded in 2005: he and a bunch of papers in my kitchen.

Hild: We needed $20 million. We went to Customers Bank. They said they could do it, they had to go to the credit committee but it should be no problem. Still, there would be delay and we were at the limit of our Zenith Bank warehouse line. So we went with re-po

OK - defendant Hild now continues on direct examination after lunch break. He hired people - who have testified against him in this trial as cooperators. This cross-examination should be a doozy.

 Watch this site.

Back on Saturday, April 24, the US filed this: "Re: United States v. Michael Hild, 19 Cr. 602 (RA) Dear Judge Abrams: The Government writes in advance of the charge conference scheduled for April 26, 2021, to propose an addition to the Court’s jury instructions. Given the testimony and cross-examination on the disclaimer that Live Well provided to IDC (Tr. 153-55, 388-89, 918, 1078-79), the Government proposes that the second paragraph on page 28 of the draft charge be revised as follows, with proposed additions in bold: Any testimony that you may have heard from any witness with respect to whether a particular fact would or would not have been important to him in general reflect that witness’s individual views. Although you may consider such testimony, it is not controlling. It is for you to determine whether a particular fact would have been significant to a reasonable person in making an investment decision. In considering whether a statement or omission was material, let me caution you that it is not a defense if the material misrepresentation or omission would not have deceived a person of ordinary intelligence. Nor does a disclaimer regarding the accuracy of information render that information immaterial as a matter of law." We'll see...

On April 15, cooperator Darren Stumberger was asked on cross examination how he selected when to tape record, and when not. He tried to dismiss selectivity, tying his recording to the "Scenario 14 era."

  Simultaneously on April 15, in Stumberger's separate case before SDNY Judge J. Paul Oetken, 19-cr-608, his lawyer "asked the Court to seal Docket Number 13." That's appears to be an unnumbered Minute entry of a motion hearing for withdrawal of counsel. There is no item numbered 13 anymore, not even "sealed document placed in vault." Why not? Why now?

On April 19, as the trial continued, the abrupt closure of Live Well was portrayed, with a lending who flew from Detroit to demand a meeting to Hild on the stand. Hild had refused to meet; later the lender was told that a warehouse line of credit might be paid back over time.

On April 20, the US Attorney's Office asked Judge Abrams to "impose a deadline for the defendant to decide whether he will waive the attorney client privilege in support an of advice- or presence of counsel defense... prior to the completion of the direct testimony of Eric Rohr, Live Well's form CFO."

 There is Hild's line that every business failure is not a criminal act. On this one, we'll see. The trial continue on April 21.

From April 14: Assistant US Attorney, in opening, says it unraveled in 2018 when lenders asked for more info. $200 million stolen; the cooperating witness are criminals, sure, AUSA says, but they have accepted responsibility. 

Next up: Ben Dusing. And he's laying it on thick
[Note: "“It is the Yankee Stadium of financial fraud worldwide,” Dusing told Cincinnati ABC affiliate WCPO shortly after his hiring in March]
[And: Hild has a website of his endeavors, here]

 Ben Dusing: I'm from Kentucky, I speak with an accent, you're going to hear it a lot. My daddy told me, A trial is a search for the truth. We begin together to search for the truth. And that's the exciting thing. We can all be proud. These are interesting times

 Ben Dusing: Never before have I been confined by plexi-glass. We'll have to lean over more, to find the truth. But it is a common purpose. We haven't seen any proof yet.  At the end I will ask you to find Mr. Michael Hild not guilty based on the facts and law

 Ben Dusing: It will come down to, did Mr. Hild intend to defraud people. It's complex. You're going to hear about pre-payment speed. Truth is found within the complexity, not despite it.

 Ben Dusing: This case is about throwing people under the bus. Bigger fish. I thank you for the sacrifice you are about to make.  [Then a 5 minute break, during which: Could you tell them not to clean the windows now? Courtroom 110 is big, with a lot of history]

It's 11:25 am and Judge Abrams is back with more jury instructions: "You must follow the law as I explain it to you, whether you agree with it or not," etc.

 First government witness against Michael Hild of Live Well is a cooperator, who previously worked at Morgan Stanley then Goldman Sach

As this witness Darren Stumberger, drones on, Inner City Press has looked up the transaction being asked about: "Ernie Calabrese and Vice President Dan Foster who will also join Live Well alongside Stumberger.

On April 13, Judge Abrams picked a jury of 12, with three alternates, in the large Jury Assembly Room of the SDNY, with the venire in masks and individual chairs, socially distanced. Inner City Press was there.

  The Juror Questionnaire asked about any links to or knowledge of Bank of New York, Customers Bank, First Bank of Tennessee, Flagstar Bank, ICBC, International Data Corporation (IDC), Mizuho Securities, NRMLA, Nomura, Republic Bank, U.S. Bank and others.

 In the run-up to the trial, which starts on April 14 at 10:15 am and which Inner City Press will cover, the US Attorney's Office filed a motion in limine seeking to preclude "evidence suggesting that IDC or the lenders were negligent or careless in failing to stop the fraud."

 Echoes of the Eaze trial of US v. Weigard, earlier this year before Judge Jed S. Rakoff, unsealing order won by Inner City Press here.

   Again, beyond mortgage fraud, we note for now that Hild worked at Capital One, and was building an empire in South Richmond which some locals denounced as gentrification. Hild, of course, has another story. Watch this site.

The case is US v Hild, 19-cr-602 (Abrams). There is and will be more on Patreon, here.

***

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