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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fulton County Investment Advisor Convicted Of 21 Counts Of Fraud

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Robert G. Bard, age 47, of Warfordsburg, Pennsylvania, was convicted in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania of 21 counts of fraud-related offenses after a seven-day jury trial before U.S. District Court Judge Sylvia H. Rambo. No date was set for sentencing.

     Bard was a registered investment advisor and was the owner and operator of Vision Specialist Group (VSG) between December 2004 and August 2009. The jury convicted Bard of defrauding numerous investors by, among other things, misrepresenting the value and make-up of their investment portfolios. Bard executed the scheme by creating phony account statements which significantly inflated the value of the investors’ accounts and included securities that were not owned by the investor. Bard created the phony account statements to conceal over $3 million in losses his clients sustained between 2006 and 2009 as a result of risky and speculative stocks he purchased on their behalf.

     Bard also failed to inform his clients that he was terminated from his prior employment as a stock broker for forging customer signatures on financial documents, had received a lifetime ban from the National Association of Securities Dealers and had declared personal bankruptcy in 2005.

     Bard faces up to 20 years’ imprisonment on the securities fraud charge, up to 20 years’ imprisonment on each of the 14 wire fraud charges, up to 20 years’ imprisonment on each of the three mail fraud charges, up to 30 years’ imprisonment on the bank fraud charge and up to five years’ imprisonment on the false statements charge, as well as substantial fines and penalties when he is sentenced. Bard was previously held liable for a civil penalty of $2.5 million as well as disgorgement of $450,000 in profits in connection with a prior civil proceeding brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

     The case was investigated by the FBI with assistance from the Securities and Exchange Commission. Senior Litigation Counsel Bruce Brandler handled the prosecution.

Updated April 17, 2015