DEFRAUDED Pennsylvania investors have retained top flight investment litigators in an attempt to hold three brokerage firms responsible for what their lawyers claim was a 'due diligence failure' when the brokers transacted with a disbarred stockbroker.
In a complex case, disgruntled investors placed their trust and cash with Robert G. Bard's Vision Specialist Group of Warfordsburg, Pa., an ex-stockbroker turned investment advisor, whom the attorneys say was retained by Ameritrade, E-Trade, Scottrade and Choice Investments.
The SEC secured a criminal conviction against Bard, before Judge Sylvia H. Rambo of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, on 31 July 2014.
Bard received a hefty 21 year prison sentence for '21 counts of securities fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, and making false statements for defrauding his investment advisory clients between December 2004 and August 2009', the SEC announced.
The fraudster was also ordered to pay $4.2 million in restitution to 66 investors - but he may not have the funds to compensate his short-changed clients.
The Fulton County News, PA., reports that 'Douglas J. Schulz, a securities fraud expert, is assisting litigators who say the brokerage firms failed in their due diligence because they “did not know or ignored the essential facts about the person who had trading authority over their customers’ accounts.”
Schulz discovered that FINRA had previously secured Bard's disbarrment consent when Bard signed a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent barring his future association with any FINRA member back in October 2005.
The litigators, Tracy Pride Stoneman, Westcliffe, Colo., Debra G. Speyer, Bala Cynwyd, Pa. - who represent the defrauded investors - and New York attorney Jonathan Neumanplan, want to bring the brokerage trio before joint arbitration at FINRA claiming $6 million compensation plus interest and comparative damages, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees and costs - reported by The Fulton County News last February.