2011-12-08 / Front Page

Bard Hearing Rescheduled To January 19

By Lindsay R. Mellott

A motion made in late November to continue a civil penalty hearing in the securities fraud case brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commision (SEC) against Warfordsburg financial advisor Robert Bard has been granted by U.S. District Judge William W. Caldwell.

Judge Caldwell had ordered Bard’s civil penalty hearing to take place Dec. 13, 2011, in a summary judgement ruling made Nov. 10 that found the defendant and his company, Vision Specialist Group LLC, in violation of federal securities laws.

The judge also determined that a permanent injunction prohibiting Bard and Vision Specilist Group from providing financial services to clients was warranted.

Bard was ordered to pay $450,000 in disgorgement, plus prejudgement interest, for profits connected to the securities violations. The SEC had asked for $852,383

The SEC’s motion for summary judgement had further requested a civil penalty of $4,030,000, and although Caldwell found a civil penalty appropriate, he ruled that a hearing would be required to determine the amount.

In court documents filed at the time, the judge wrote that many factors needed to be considered in determining an appropiate sum, including the egregiousnesss of the defendants’ conduct, the recurrent nature of the fraud, the defendants degree of cooperation with authorities, the risk of substantial losses created by the defendants conduct, and the defendants’ current and future financial condition.

Citing another scheduled trial and several other scheduled hearings, defense attorneys Dennis E. Boyle and Megan E. Schanbacher of Boyle, Autry & Murphy requested that Bard’s civil penalty hearing be postponed to a date after Jan. 9, 2012. Last week, the judge ordered the hearing rescheduled for Jan. 19, 2012, at 10 a.m., in U.S. Middle District Court of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, Pa.

Security fraud accusations were first made against Bard and Vision Specialist Group in a civil lawsuit filed in federal court July 2009. In that suit, the SEC maintained that Bard’s securities fraud occurred from at least July 2006 through July 2009 and that Bard had cheated investors out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The court ordered an emergency temporary restraing order to keep Bard from committing any further securities fraud, and a preliminary injunction was granted in August 2009.

In April 2011, Bard was found in contempt of court for violating the preliminary injunction.

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