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Complaints Pending Against Brokers Joseph “Joe” Latour and Tony Barouti in the Wake of GWG Holdings Bankruptcy

Joseph “Joe” Latour (CRD#: 4436861) is a registered Broker and Investment Advisor at Center Street Securities, Inc. in Springfield, MO, and Latour Asset Management in Springfield, MO; and Tony Barouti (CRD#: 3031995) is a registered Broker at Emerson Equity, LLC in Los Angeles, CA.

Brokers’ Background

Joseph Latour entered the securities industry in 2001 and previously worked for Brookstone Capital Management, LLC; and Mutual of Omaha Investor Services, Inc.

Tony Barouti entered the securities industry in 1998 and previously worked for First Heartland Capital, Inc.; LPL Financial LLC; Newport Coast Securities, Inc.; Commonwealth Financial Network; Brookstreet Securities Corp.; Jefferson Pilot Securities Corp.; Linsco/Private Ledger Corp.; World Group Securities, Inc.; and WMA Securities, Inc.

Current And Past Allegations Of Conduct Leading To Investment Loss

Joseph Latour and Tony Barouti both have recent complaints regarding GWG Holdings.

According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in March 2022, a customer dispute was filed against Joseph Latour. The allegation states, “unsuitable and illiquid.” Damages of $500,000 are requested, and the customer dispute is pending.

According to publicly available records released by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), in March 2022, two customer disputes were filed against Tony Barouti. The first allegation states, “Failure to disclose, fully and fairly, all material facts and risks associated with an investment despite customers’ written acknowledgement that they understood the facts and risks.” Damages of $100,000 are requested, and the customer dispute is pending.

The second allegation states, “Failure to disclose, fully and fairly, all material facts, risks and speculative nature associated with an investment despite customers’ written acknowledgement that they understood the facts and risks.” Damages of $1,270,000 are requested, and the customer dispute is pending.

In addition, these brokers have been the subject of other disclosures, including the following:

Joseph Latour

  • July 2010 — “UNAPPROVED ADVERTISING.” This regulatory action was initiated by the State of Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration. Joseph Latour was fined $400.
  • June 2009 — “UNAPPROVED ADVERTISING.” This regulatory action was initiated by the State of Missouri Department of Insurance, Financial Institutions and Professional Registration. Joseph Latour was fined $2,000.

Tony Barouti

  • July 2015 — “CUSTOMER ALLEGES REP MISPRESENTED PRODCUT DURING THE SOLICITATION PROCESS IN OR AROUND AUGUST 2009.” The customer complaint was withdrawn.
  • September 2001 — “CLIENT ALLEGES THAT A VARIABLE UNIVERSAL LIFE INSURANCE POLICY ISSUED ON 5/16/00 WAS PRESENTED AS A MUTUAL FUND AND HE WAS NOT TOLD OF MONTHLY CHARGES ASSOCIATED WITH THIS VARIABLE UNIVERSAL LIFE POLICY.” The customer dispute was closed with no action.

For a copy of Joseph Latour’s FINRA BrokerCheck, click here.

For a copy of Tony Barouti’s FINRA BrokerCheck, click here.

GWG Holdings (GWGH) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 20, 2022 after formally defaulting on financial obligations to L bondholders on February 14, 2022. The court filing in United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas sets in motion a repayment process for investors that includes principal and interest; however, bankruptcy protection also pauses these repayments until the company’s restructuring plan is established and receives the approval of the bankruptcy court. It’s estimated that investors may be due more than $1.6B. Because of the time it takes for bankruptcy cases to be resolved, it could take years before investors recover their money. GWG Holdings worked to arrange for a special kind of loan and receive bankruptcy court approval for it so that the company can continue operations, with the goal of eventual financial recovery.

We Help Investors Recover Investment Losses

Financial advisors have a legal and regulatory obligation to recommend only suitable investments that are appropriate for their clients’ needs and objectives. Their employing brokerage firm has a legal and regulatory obligation to supervise the Financial Advisors’ sales practices and dealings with clients. To the extent any of these duties are breached, the customer may be entitled to a recovery of his or her investment losses.

Reasonable basis suitability requires that a recommended investment or investment strategy be suitable or appropriate for at least some investors. Reasonable basis suitability requires an advisor to conduct adequate due diligence so that he or she can determine the risks and rewards of the investment or investment strategy.

Quantitative suitability requires a brokerage firm or financial advisor with actual or de facto control over a customer’s account to have a reasonable basis for believing that a series of recommended transactions – even if suitable when viewed in isolation – is not excessive and unsuitable for the customer when taken together in light of the customer’s investment profile. No single test defines excessive activity, but factors such as the turnover rate, the cost-equity ratio, and the use of in-and-out trading in a customer’s account may provide a basis for a finding that a member or associated person has violated the quantitative suitability obligation.

Customer-specific suitability requires that a member or associated person have a reasonable basis to believe that the recommendation is suitable for a particular customer based on that customer’s investment profile. Among the criteria that a financial advisor must evaluate to satisfy his or her customer-specific suitability obligations include the investor’s age, tax status, time horizon, liquidity needs, and risk tolerance; a client’s other investments, financial situation and needs, investment objectives, and any other information disclosed by the customer should also be considered.

The Wolper Law Firm represents investors nationwide in securities litigation and arbitration on a contingency fee basis.  Matt Wolper, the Managing Principal of the Wolper Law Firm, is a trial lawyer who has handled hundreds of securities cases during his career involving a wide range of products, strategies and securities. Prior to representing investors, he was a partner with a national law firm, where he represented some of the largest banks and brokerage firms in the world in securities matters. We can be reached at (800) 931-8452 or by email at mwolper@wolperlawfirm.com.

Attorney Matthew Wolper

Attorney Matthew WolperMatt Wolper is a trial lawyer who focuses exclusively on securities litigation and arbitration. Mr. Wolper has handled hundreds of securities matters nationwide before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), American Arbitration Association (“AAA”), JAMS, and in state and federal court. Mr. Wolper has handled and tried cases involving complex financial products and strategies ranging from traditional stocks and bonds to options, margin and other securities-based lending products, closed/open-end mutual funds, structured products, hedge funds, and penny stocks. [Attorney Bio]