7.30.2009 The SEC filed an emergency action against Pennsylvania resident Robert Bard and his investment advisory firm, Vision Specialist Group LLC, for conducting an ongoing fraud. The SEC alleges that from 2005 to the present Bard and Vision Specialist have targeted investors with promises of high yields and safety of principal, telling clients that they had invested in safe investments such as bonds, certificates of deposit and money market funds. In reality, the SEC says, Bard squandered hundreds of thousands of dollars of client funds by making risky (and losing) investments in penny stocks and other securities and borrowing on margin.

The SEC alleges that Bard created false statements misrepresenting the true value of client accounts and used Vision Specialist’s operating account to cover client withdrawals and pay margin calls so that clients believed their accounts had funds that they did not have. In addition, for at least one client, Bard and Vision Specialist charged fees although Bard represented that he would not. The SEC also alleges that Bard forged client authorization forms to transfer funds between accounts to conceal the dissipation of assets. Bard has marketed himself as a deeply religious man and has benefited from his and his family’s reputations in this small rural community.

Click http://www.sec.gov/news/digest/2009/dig073009.htm to access the SEC news release.