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Jordan Belfort


Jordan Belfort

Jordan Belfort
Belfort in 2010
Born Jordan Ross Belfort
(1962-07-09) July 9, 1962
The Bronx, New York City, U.S.
Occupation Author, entrepreneur, motivational speaker
Criminal penalty 4 years in federal prison, $110 million in restitution[1]
Criminal status Released April 2006 after 22 months[1][2]
Spouse(s) Denise Lombardo (divorced)[3][4]
Nadine Caridi (divorced; 2 children)[1]
Conviction(s) Securities fraud, money laundering[1]

Jordan Ross Belfort[5] (; born July 9, 1962) is an American author, motivational speaker, and former stockbroker who pleaded guilty to fraud and related crimes in connection with stock market manipulation and running a boiler room as part of a penny stock scam. Belfort spent 22 months in prison as part of an agreement under which he gave testimony against numerous partners and subordinates in his fraud scheme.[6] He published a memoir, The Wolf of Wall Street, which was adapted into a film, released in 2013. It was directed by Martin Scorsese and starred Leonardo DiCaprio as Belfort.


  • Early life 1
  • Stock trading career 2
    • Early ventures 2.1
    • Stratton Oakmont 2.2
    • Restitution 2.3
  • Writing 3
    • Film adaptation 3.1
    • Bibliography 3.2
  • Motivational speaking 4
  • Personal life 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7

Early life

Belfort was born in 1962 in the Bronx[3] borough of New York City to a Jewish family.[7][8][9] His parents, Leah and Max Belfort, are both accountants. He was raised in Bayside, Queens.[1][10][11][12][13] Between completing high school and starting college, Belfort and his close childhood friend Elliot Loewenstern earned $20,000 selling Italian ice from styrofoam coolers to people at a local beach.[14] Belfort planned on using the money earned with Loewenstern to pay for a dental-school qualification[15] and he enrolled in the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery; however, he left after the dean of the school said to him on his first day at the college: "The golden age of dentistry is over. If you’re here simply because you’re looking to make a lot of money, you’re in the wrong place."[16][17] Belfort eventually graduated from American University with a degree in biology.[12][18]

Stock trading career

Early ventures

After graduating, Belfort became a door-to-door meat and seafood salesman in Long Island, New York.[18] He claims in interviews and his memoirs that the business was an initial success; he grew his meat-selling business to employ several workers and sold 5,000 pounds of beef and fish a week.[18] However, the business ultimately failed, as he filed for bankruptcy at 25.[18] According to his memoirs and interviews, a family friend helped him find a job as a trainee stockbroker at L.F. Rothschild.[19] Belfort says he was laid off after that firm experienced financial difficulties related to the Black Monday stock market crash of 1987.[16][20][21]

Stratton Oakmont

Belfort originally founded Stratton Oakmont as a franchise of Stratton Securities, then later bought out the original founder.[20] Stratton Oakmont functioned as a boiler room that marketed penny stocks and defrauded investors with the "pump and dump" type of stock sales.[22] During his years at Stratton, Belfort developed a lifestyle that consisted of lavish parties and intensive use of recreational drugs, especially methaqualone—sold to him under the brand name "Quaalude"—that resulted in an addiction.[1][23] Stratton Oakmont at one point employed over 1,000 stock brokers and was involved in stock issues totaling more than US$1 billion, including being behind the initial public offering for footwear company Steve Madden Ltd. The notoriety of the firm, targeted by law enforcement officials through virtually its entire history, inspired the film Boiler Room (2000),[24] as well as the 2013 biopic The Wolf of Wall Street.

The [25] Belfort was then indicted for securities fraud and money laundering.[26]

Belfort served 22 months of a four-year sentence at the Taft Correctional Center in Taft, California, in exchange for a plea deal with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the pump-and-dump scams he ran that led to investor losses of approximately US$200 million.[27][1] Belfort was ordered to pay back $110.4 million that he swindled from stock buyers.[28] Belfort shared a cell with Tommy Chong while serving his sentence, and Chong encouraged Belfort to write about his experiences as a stockbroker.[29] The pair remained friends after their release from prison,[29] with Belfort crediting Chong for his new career direction as a motivational speaker and writer.[30] At a motivational talk that he delivered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) on May 19, 2014, Belfort stated to the audience:

I got greedy.... Greed is not good. Ambition is good, passion is good. Passion prospers. My goal is to give more than I get, that’s a sustainable form of success.... Ninety-five percent of the business was legitimate.... It was all brokerage firm issues. It was all legitimate, nothing to do with liquidating stocks.[26]

Federal prosecutors and SEC officials involved in the case, however, have said "Stratton Oakmont was not a real Wall Street firm, either literally or figuratively."[31][32]


Belfort’s restitution agreement required him to pay 50% of his income towards restitution to the 1,513 clients he defrauded until 2009, with a total of $110 million in restitution is further mandated. Of the $11.6 million (USD) that had been recovered by Belfort's victims as of 2013, about $10 million of the total was the result of the sale of forfeited properties.[33]

In October 2013, federal prosecutors filed a complaint against Belfort. Several days later the U.S. government then withdrew its motion to find Belfort in default of his payments, after Belfort’s lawyers argued that Belfort had only been responsible for paying 50% of his salary to restitution up until 2009, and not since. The restitution he paid during his parole period (since departing from prison) amounted to “$382,910 in 2007, $148,799 in 2008, and $170,000 in 2009.” Following this period, Belfort began negotiating a restitution payment plan with the U.S. government.[34] The final deal Belfort made with the government was to pay a minimum of $10,000 per month for life towards the restitution, after a judge ruled that Belfort was not required to pay 50% of his income past the end of his parole. He has claimed that he is additionally putting the profits from his U.S. public speaking engagements and media royalties towards the restitution, in addition to the $10,000 per month.[35]

Prosecutors also said that he had fled to Australia to avoid taxes and conceal his assets from his victims,[36] but later recanted their statement, which had been given to the Wall Street Journal,[37] by issuing Belfort an official apology and requesting the WSJ print a retraction.[38] Belfort also claimed on his website and elsewhere that he intended to request that "100% of the royalties" from his books and the Wolf of Wall Street film be turned over to victims. In June 2014, spokesmen for the U.S. attorney said Belfort's claim was "not factual",[39] claiming that he had received money from the initial sale of the movie rights that was not entirely put towards his restitution repayment.[37] BusinessWeek reported that of approximately $1.2 million paid to Belfort in connection with the film before its release, Belfort had paid only $21,000 toward his restitution obligations.[40] Belfort has stated that while he offered to put 100% of his book deal money towards his restitution, the government refused the offer.[41][42]


Belfort wrote two memoirs, The Wolf of Wall Street and Catching the Wolf of Wall Street, which have been published in approximately 40 countries and translated into 18 languages.[6] A movie based on his books opened in 2013, starring DiCaprio as Belfort, Jonah Hill, and Margot Robbie; the film was written by Terence Winter and directed by Martin Scorsese.[43][44] He wrote his first book in the days following his release from prison (after a false start during his sentence, when he wrote and destroyed 130 initial pages). He received a $500,000 advance from Random House, and before its release, a bidding war began for the book’s film rights.[30] The former Assistant United States Attorney who prosecuted Belfort has said he believes some of the details in Belfort's book may have been "invented".[32]

Film adaptation

Filming of Scorsese's adaptation of Belfort's memoirs began in August 2012 and the movie was released on December 25, 2013.[44][45] Time magazine reported that many of the escapades depicted in the movie are consistent with Belfort's memoirs and what was written about him in Forbes articles, although some of the Forbes-related content was embellished.[43] Belfort was portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio, who won the Golden Globe for Best Actor, and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor for his performance.


Motivational speaking

Belfort has given motivational speeches.[6][34] This has included a tour of live seminars in Australia entitled “The Truth Behind His Success”, in addition to other international appearances. In a 60 Minutes interview regarding his new career, Belfort stated of his previous life that his “greatest regret is losing people money”, and at one point in the interview, he stormed off the set when the interviewer asked if his current financial dealings were legitimate.[48] He also runs sales seminars entitled “Jordan Belfort's Straight Line Sales Psychology”.[49] When he first began speaking he focused largely on motivation and ethics, then moved his focus to sales skills and entrepreneurship.[30]

His speaking engagements are run through his business Global Motivation Inc, and as of 2014 Belfort was spending three weeks out of each month on the road for speaking engagements. The main theme of his speeches include the importance of business ethics and learning from the mistakes he made during the 1990s—such as believing that skirting the rules of financial regulators because it was a common thing to do, did not justify his actions.[35] His per engagement speaking fees have been about $30,000-$75,000 and his per sales seminar fee can be $80,000 or more. The main subject matter of his seminars is what he has called “Straight Line System”, a system of business advice.[30][49] Some reviewers have reacted negatively to the content of the speeches, specifically Belfort’s recounting of stories from the 1990s.[50]

Personal life

During his time running the Stratton Oakmont business, Belfort divorced his first wife Denise Lombardo (whose name was changed in the film The Wolf of Wall Street). He later married Nadine Caridi (whose name was also changed in the film), a British-born, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn-raised model he met at a party. With Caridi, he has two children. Belfort and Caridi ultimately became separated following her claims of domestic violence which were fueled by his problems with drug addiction and affairs with other women. They divorced in 2005.[51][52]

Belfort was the final owner of the luxury yacht Nadine, which, originally built for Coco Chanel in 1961, was renamed after Caridi. In June 1996, the yacht sank off the east coast of Sardinia[53] and frogmen from Italian Navy special forces unit COMSUBIN rescued all who were aboard the vessel. Belfort said he insisted on sailing out in high winds against the advice of his captain, resulting in the sinking of the vessel, when waves smashed the foredeck hatch.[54][55][56] As of 2013, Belfort is residing in Manhattan Beach, California, and was engaged to Anne Koppe, who was helping him run his business out of Hermosa Beach, California.[57] Belfort is also an avid tennis player.[30]


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  2. ^ "Federal Bureau of Prisons". April 28, 2006. Retrieved April 3, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b Gambotto-Burke, Antonella (January 15, 2008). "The wicked wolf of Wall Street". MailOnline (London). Retrieved July 6, 2013. 
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  12. ^ a b Gray, Geoffrey (December 30, 2013). "Meet Jordan Belfort, the Real Wolf of Wall Street". Vulture. Retrieved December 30, 2013. 
  13. ^ Belfort, Jordan (September 25, 2007). The Wolf of Wall Street. Random House Publishing Group. p. 47.  
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  19. ^ Straney, Louis L. (2010). Securities Fraud: Detection, Prevention, and Control. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley. p. 133.  
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  21. ^ Joe Nocera (December 19, 2013). "Sex and Drugs and I.P.O.’s".  
  22. ^ Gasparino, Charlie. Wolf of Wall Street' Gets $1M Pay Day for Movie Rights"'". Fox Business. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
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  28. ^ "Jordan Belfort — Interview from Sunday Profile". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. August 20, 2009. Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
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  32. ^ a b Joel M. Cohen (January 7, 2014). "The Real Belfort Story Missing From 'Wolf' Movie".  
  33. ^ Dillon, Nancy (October 19, 2013). "Real 'Wolf of Wall Street' Jordan Belfort still owes millions to victims: prosecutors". Daily News (New York). Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
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  35. ^ a b "Wolf of Wall Street: Q&A with Jordan Belfort". sacbee. Retrieved July 4, 2015. 
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  44. ^ a b Rich, Katey (January 7, 2014). "" Editor Thelma Schoonmaker Says Leonardo DiCaprio "Will Do Anything for MartyWolf of Wall Street". Vanity Fair. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  45. ^ Fleming, Mike (April 19, 2012). "TOLDJA! Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio Commit To 'The Wolf Of Wall Street'". PMC. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
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  47. ^ "Catching the Wolf of Wall Street". OCLC WorldCat. OCLC. 2001–2014. Retrieved May 22, 2014. 
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  49. ^ a b "Jordan Belfort's INSANELY Lucrative Motivational Speaking Tour: Real 'Wolf of Wall Street' EXPLOITS Fame From Martin Scorsese Movie To Boost 'Straight Line' Sales Program". Design & Trend. Retrieved July 4, 2015. 
  50. ^ Soo Youn. "Jordan Belfort’s Groupon Sales Seminar - Hollywood Reporter". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 4, 2015. 
  51. ^ Witheridge, Annette (March 2, 2014). "Jordan Belfort: Meet the REAL Wolf of Wall Street as played by Leonardo DiCaprio". Daily Mirror. 
  52. ^ Walker, Rob (10 April 2002). "Genius of Capitalism: Steve Madden". Slate. Retrieved 28 October 2010. 
  53. ^ "I naufraghi dello yacht miliardario salvati in extremis" (in Italiano). Corriere Della Sera. June 24, 1996. Retrieved February 18, 2014. 
  54. ^ Wooton, Kenny (May 1997). "The Longest Night". Yachting 181 (5): 54.  
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  56. ^ Belfort, Jordan (2007). The Wolf of Wall Street. Random House. pp. 406–409.  
  57. ^ "Anne Koppe- Wolf Of Wall Street Jordan Belfort's Girlfriend/ Fiancee". December 9, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 

External links

  • Official website
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