FROM: U.S. SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Pennsylvania-Based Investment Adviser Charged in SEC and Criminal Actions Receives Prison Sentence
A Pennsylvania-based investment adviser who was charged with fraud in an SEC enforcement action and later by criminal authorities has received a prison sentence of more than 21 years.
Robert G. Bard of Warfordsburg, Pa., was sentenced on July 31 by Sylvia H. Rambo of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. Bard had been found guilty by a jury and convicted of 21 counts of securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, and making false statements for defrauding his investment advisory clients between December 2004 and August 2009. Judge Rambo sentenced Bard to 262 months imprisonment and ordered him to pay $4.2 million in restitution to 66 victims.
The criminal case, filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on July 18, 2012, arose out of the same facts that were the subject of a civil injunctive action filed by the SEC on July 30, 2009. The Commission's complaint alleged that defendant Bard, an investment adviser, and his solely-owned company Vision Specialist Group LLC had violated the federal securities laws through fraudulent misrepresentations regarding client investments, account performance and advisory fees, and by Bard's creation of false client account statements, and forgery of client documents. On May 23, 2012, after granting summary judgment for the Commission, the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania entered a final judgment against Bard and Vision Specialist Group finding both violated § 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933, § 10(b) of the Exchange Act of 1934, and Rule 10b-5 thereunder, and §§ 206(1) and 206(2) of the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. In that judgment, the court also entered permanent injunctions for violations of those provisions, and held Bard and Vision Specialist Group jointly and severally liable for disgorgement, prejudgment interest, and civil penalties totaling $3,003,039.