Two investor complaints, claiming $1.37 million in damages, have been recorded on the BrokerCheck profile of broker Los Angeles, California, based on Tony Barouti, a registered broker with Emerson Equity. These appear to be a part of the several complaints made by investors regarding the sale of bonds underwritten by GWG Holdings, Inc., which has recently filed for bankruptcy protection.
Emerson Equity and Tony Barouti
Emerson Equity, based in San Mateo, California, primarily deals in private placements and is listed as the managing broker-dealer, on the GWG Holdings website, for the bonds of $1.6 billion that were backed by life settlements. In January, GWG defaulted on $13.6 million worth of bond payments before filing for bankruptcy a few weeks later in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas.
Along with Emerson Equity themselves, these bonds were sold by 145 broker-dealers, as per information filed during court proceedings. Customer complaints could be faced by many of them through the FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) arbitration process.
At this point, it remains unclear what value their holdings of GWG Bonds have if any.
Barouti has been a registered broker with Emerson Equity since 2017. The two complaints claiming $1.37 million in damages pertain to sales of corporate debt.
As revealed by two attorneys, it also appears that many of the clients of Barouti were of Iranian descent. He is believed to have extensively marketed the Bonds through Persian language infomercials on the radio in Southern California.
Neither Barouti nor Dominic Baldini, the owner of Emerson Equity who is also the president, have returned calls requesting for comments.
Matthew Thibaut, Esq., a founding partner of Haselkorn & Thibaut (InvestmentFraudLawyers.com) a nationwide law firm that is investigating these potential claims on behalf of investors with over 20 years of investment-related litigation and securities arbitration experience, commented that based on the calls we are getting recently, it appears that some financial advisors that were marketing GWG-related investments (and GWG L-Bonds in particular) were not accurately representing the level of risk associated with these high-yield securities.
Haselkorn & Thibaut has opened up a GWG investor hotline at 1-888-614-9356, and they have experienced attorneys available to provide a fast, free, friendly case evaluation for investors with questions regarding their GWG investments.