Fulton County Investment Adviser Sentenced to 262 Months’ Imprisonment
The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Robert G. Bard, age 47, of Warfordsburg, Pennsylvania, was sentenced by Senior U.S. District Court Judge Sylvia H. Rambo to 262 months’ imprisonment, ordered to pay $4.2 million in restitution to 66 victims, and was placed on two years’ supervised release after release from prison.
In handing down her sentence, Judge Rambo stated “Bard’s actions had a devastating impact on his victims and the lengthy sentence was appropriate under the circumstances.” Judge Rambo ordered that Bard be immediately taken into custody to commence serving his sentence. A number of victims were present in the courtroom and applauded as Bard was taken into custody.
Bard was convicted of 21 counts of securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, and making false statements after a seven-day jury trial in August 2013. The evidence at trial proved that Bard was a registered investment adviser 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 $5.8 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.
The case was investigated by the FBI with assistance from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Senior Litigation Counsel Bruce Brandler handled the prosecution.