Jordan Belfort is a convicted felon and a former stockbroker and author. At the time of publication, Jordan Belfort has a net worth of negative $100 million.
From 1989 to 1996, Jordan operated the financial firm Stratton Oakmont, orchestrating pump-and-dump schemes that defrauded hundreds of millions of dollars from unsuspecting victims. In 1999, both co-founders of the firm, Belfort and Danny Porush, faced indictments for securities fraud and money laundering. Subsequently, they pleaded guilty and, in exchange for cooperating with prosecutors, had their sentences reduced.
In 2007, Jordan Belfort published the memoir, The Wolf of Wall Street.” It was converted into a film of the same name starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Martin Scorsese. The movie was released in 2013. On the other hand, the 2000 movie “Boiler Room” was loosely inspired by Belfort and his former financial company Stratton Oakmont.
Sadly for the fans of the movie, Jordan Belfort was not called “the Wolf of Wall Street” during his glorious financial scheming days.
Jordan coined the nickname “The Wolf of Wall Street” himself while writing his memoir in jail. The movie inaccurately suggests that a 1991 Forbes writer gave him this title. In truth, the Forbes article was titled “Steaks, Stocks – What’s the Difference?” and highlighted Jordan’s transition from selling steaks and seafood door-to-door on Long Island to becoming a stockbroker.
The article portrayed him as a “twisted Robin Hood” and characterized his business model as “pushing dicey stocks on gullible investors.”
Something the movie never portrayed well was the fact that most of Jordan’s victims were not rich. They were just modest people who could not afford to lose the money they lost in his scheme.
During Jordan’s fraudulent reign of terror, he stole nearly $200 million from his victims. He was ordered to repay $110 million as restitution. For now, he has repaid $10 million. Thus, his negative $100 million net worth is justified.
Born on July 9, 1962, in The Bronx, New York, Jordan Ross Belfort grew up in a Jewish family in Bayside, Queens. During the summer between high school and college, Belfort and a friend earned $20,000 selling Italian ice on the beach from coolers.
Despite graduating from American University with a degree in biology, he enrolled in dental school at the University of Maryland. However, he abandoned the pursuit after the first day of classes upon hearing from a faculty member that dentistry wasn’t a path to wealth.
Belfort initially earned a living by selling meat and seafood door-to-door on Long Island, New York. His solo endeavor evolved into a company employing multiple individuals, selling 5,000 pounds of beef and fish per week. At the age of 25, Belfort filed for bankruptcy and secured a position at L.F. Rothschild as a stockbroker trainee.
Allegedly, his first boss advocated for success through a combination of masturbation, cocaine, and prostitution. Following the 1987 Black Monday stock market crash, he was laid off. Undeterred, Belfort remained driven by the desire to attain the financial success of senior stockbrokers. Throughout the late 1980s, he worked for various financial firms, absorbing knowledge. In 1989, he capitalized on his expertise, perfecting his sales pitch and establishing his firm.
Belfort founded Stratton Oakmont in the early 1990s. The company markets penny stocks in a boiler room setting. Belfort used a pump-and-dump scheme to defraud his investors. At the peak of Stratton Oakmont’s success, Belfort employed over 1,000 stockbrokers and more than $1 billion under management. Nonetheless, the National Association of Securities Dealers was on to Belfort and Stratton Oakmont.
The association was keenly scrutinizing the firm’s transactions. Then, in December 1996, the National Association of Securities Dealers kicked Stratton Oakmont out of its membership and the company went out of business.
It is reported that Belfort laundered his money through Swiss banks, with assistance from his mother-in-law and his wife’s aunt in smuggling the funds into Switzerland. During his tenure at Stratton Oakmont, he allegedly organized extravagant parties that featured events such as midget-tossing contests.
Belfort was indicted for securities fraud and money laundering in 1999. He served 22 months of a 4-year sentence in exchange for a plea deal with the FBI. His financial scams cost his investors $200 million.
Belfort was indicted for money laundering and fraud in 1998. He was convicted of securities fraud and money laundering and spent nearly two years in jail. Notably, he also had to pay back $110 million of the $200 million that he stole from over 1,500 clients. Up to today, he has just paid back nearly $10 million of the $110 million.
Motivational Speaking Career
Since he was released from prison, Belfort reinvented himself as a motivational speaker. He launched a business called Global Motivation, Inc. He spent up to three weeks a month on the road delivering speeches on the importance of ethics in business and learning from mistakes.
In the 1990s, Belfort believed he had justification for flouting the rules set by financial regulators, citing the widespread practice of such behavior by others. Presently, booking a speaking engagement with Belfort comes at a cost ranging from $30,000 to $75,000, while securing his services for a sales seminar requires an investment starting at $80,000.
However, his speeches have received less-than-favorable reviews, with critics expressing disapproval of his stories recounting his disregard for financial regulations in the 1990s.
Jordan Belfort wrote the two memoirs “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Catching the Wolf of Wall Street” which have been published in nearly 40 nations and translated into 18 languages. “The Wolf of Wall Street” was turned into an interesting movie starring Jonah Hill, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Margot Robbie. Martin Scorsese directed the movie.
He also wrote “Way of the Wolf: Become a Master Closer with Straight Line Selling,” which was published in 2017.
During his years at Stratton, Belfort was living a lavish lifestyle and threw frequent parties. He also utilized recreational drugs, mostly methaqualone, or quaaludes. Belfort and his first wife Denise Lombardo divorced during his time running Stratton Oakmont. They were married from 1985-1991.
Tommy Chong was his cellmate in prison and was the person who encouraged Belfort to write “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
In 1991, Belfort married Nadine Caridi, a British-born model whom he met at a party. The couple welcomed two children, Chandler and Carter. Their marriage encountered turbulence, leading to a separation after Caridi accused him of domestic violence, potentially fueled by substance abuse. They finalized their divorce in 2005.
Belfort purchased the luxury yacht Nadine, which was built in 1961 for famed designer Coco Chanel. Belfort renamed the yacht after his second wife. The vessel sank off the coast of Sardinia in June 1996, but everyone on board was successfully rescued by the Italian Navy’s Special Forces. Belfort later acknowledged that he had insisted on sailing the yacht in adverse high winds, disregarding the captain’s advice.
In 2008, Belfort married Anne Koppe. They divorced in 2020. In 2021, Jordan started dating Cristina Invernizzi. Belfort has been compared to the ill-famed Ponzi scheme perpetrator Bernie Madoff. Belfort has a cameo near the end of “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
Notably, his former head of security, Bo Dietl, gave an interview where he said that he never saw Belfort sober while he worked for him and said that Belfort had serious links to the Mob.
In 2021, a hacker stole $300,000 worth of digital tokens from Belfort’s crypto wallet.
In 2001, the federal government seized Belfort’s Long Island, New York mansion, and sold it to pay back some of Belfort’s fraud victims. Since then, the home has been sold multiple times. It hit the market in 2017 for $3.4 million. In August 2018, the price was cut to $2.89 million.