A former broker convicted of pilfering more than $4 million from his clients lost his appeal to get out of serving more than 20 years in prison, according to local news reports.
Robert Bard was convicted of 21 criminal counts in 2013 in connection to a scheme that harmed dozens of victims, involving faked financial statements and Bard failing to tell them that he had been fired from his position as a broker for forging clients’ signatures as well as getting banned in 2005 by the National Association of Securities Dealers, PennLive.com writes.
In 2014, U.S. Middle District Judge Sylvia Rambo of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania sentenced Bard to 262 months in prison and ordered him to repay $4.2 million in restitution, according to the web publication.
But Bard claimed that two of his lawyers didn’t properly advise him of the prosecutors’ plea offers and that one of the lawyers failed to secure an expert witness to testify about the victims’ losses, PennLive.com writes. Bard also claimed that a third lawyer wasn’t effective in fighting for his release, according to the web publication.
On Wednesday, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit denied the appeal, PennLive.com writes.
Judge Thomas Ambro, who wrote the circuit court’s opinion, blamed Bard’s own delaying tactics for the failure to secure the expert’s opinion and noted that the former broker voluntarily rejected the plea deal, saying he would not accept any offer involving time in prison, according to the web publication. The lawyers, meanwhile, “provided reasonably competent representation,” Ambro ruled, according to PennLive.com.
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