Jury Finds Bard Guilty Of Fraud
Former Warfordsburg financial advisor Robert Bard who swindled 43 investors out of more than $3 million between 2006 and 2009 was found guilty last Wednesday of 21 felony counts of securities fraud-related offenses and faces years in jail when sentenced.
Bard, 47, was convicted in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg following a seven-day trial before U.S. District Court Judge Sylvia H. Rambo.
He was a registered investment advisor and the owner-operator of Vision Specialist Group, in Warfordsburg, between December 2004 and August 2009.
Many of Bard’s clients lived in and around the Warfordsburg area.
According to a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) press release, Bard was found guilty of defrauding investors by, among other things, misrepresenting the value and makeup of their investment portfolios. The scheme was executed by creating phony account statements that significantly inflated the value of the investors’ accounts and included securities that were not owned by the investors.
The phony account statements, the DOJ press release said, were created to conceal mult-million dollar losses his clients sustained as a result of risky and speculative stocks Bard purchased on their behalf.
Bard had been terminated from 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, the press release said.
He was indicted and arraigned in July 2012 on 21 criminal fraud charges, to which he pled not guilty.
Bard was first charged with securities fraud by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in a civil suit filed in July 2009. In February 2012 he was found liable for a civil penalty of $2.5 million and orderd to pay back $450,000 in profits made as a result of the fraud.
Bard faces up to 20 years in jail on the securities fraud charge, up to 20 years for each of the 14 wire fraud charges, up to 20 years on each of three mail fraud charges, up to 30 years on the bank fraud charge and up to five years in jail for lying to the FBI, as well as substantial fines and penalties.
Bard was given a $10,000 secured bond to appear in court.
No date has been set for sentencing, according to the press release.