As reported on Public Opinion Online, a federal judge froze the assets of a Warfordsburg investment adviser and his firm after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission alleged he squandered hundreds of thousands of dollars of his clients’ money.
Robert G. Bard, 43, ran Vision Specialist Group LLC, an investment firm in Warfordsburg.
The SEC claims that Bard made bad investments and then lied to his clients about account values.
U.S. District Court Judge William W. Caldwell granted an injunction freezing the assets after the SEC filed a civil suit in federal court in Harrisburg against Bard and Vision Specialist Group.
The SEC said since 2005, Bard targeted investors in the small community with promises of high yields and safety of principal but actually made risky investments, lost money, and then overstated account values to his clients.
The SEC also alleged that for at least one client, Bard forged client authorization forms to transfer funds between accounts to cover up the dissipation of assets.
Vision Specialist Group has been registered with the Pennsylvania Department of State since December 2004 and has about $4.4 million in assets under management in about 150 accounts. The firm was also a registered investment adviser in West Virginia and had clients as far away as Tennessee.
The SEC alleges Bard mishandled money in the Semper Fi Memorial Fund, which was set up to send area high school students on field trips to Arlington (Va.) National Cemetery. It was established by the parents of Marine Lance Cpl. Steven Szwydek of Warfordsburg, who was killed while serving in Iraq in 2005.
The lawsuit said Bard lost the money through bad investments but told the Szwydeks that the account was “doing well” and did not mention that the most of the money was being invested in stocks, though they had requested the money be invested in a money market or certificate of deposit.
The family could not be immediately reached for comment.
The lawsuit does not name individual clients, but does indicate a local volunteer fire company was also given misleading information about investments and charged $6,718 in fees, though Bard told the fire company he did not charge fees.
If you have questions about investments you made with Vision Specialist Group, LLC, or if you believe that you have been the victim of a securities fraud, The White Law Group may be able to help. To speak to a securities attorney, please call our Chicago office at 312-238-9650.
The White Law Group, LLC is a national securities fraud, securities arbitration, investor protection, and securities regulation/compliance law firm with offices in Chicago, Illinois and Boca Raton, Florida.
To learn more about The White Law Group, visit https://www.whitesecuritieslaw.com.