Jordan Belfort

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Jordan Belfort
Jordan Belfort - May 30, 2010.jpg
Belfort in 2010
BornJordan Ross Belfort
(1962-07-09) July 9, 1962 (age 52)
The Bronx, New York City, U.S.
OccupationAuthor, entrepreneur, motivational speaker
Criminal penalty
4 years in federal prison, $110 million in restitution[1]
Criminal statusReleased 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]
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Jordan Belfort
Jordan Belfort - May 30, 2010.jpg
Belfort in 2010
BornJordan Ross Belfort
(1962-07-09) July 9, 1962 (age 52)
The Bronx, New York City, U.S.
OccupationAuthor, entrepreneur, motivational speaker
Criminal penalty
4 years in federal prison, $110 million in restitution[1]
Criminal statusReleased 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] (/ˈbɛlfɔːrt/; born July 9, 1962) is an American author 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. The truthfulness of Belfort's book and the film is a controversial subject.

Early life[edit]

Belfort was born in 1962 in the Bronx[3] borough of New York City into 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]


Early ventures[edit]

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, a claim repeated in numerous sources.[16][20][21]

Belfort claims to have then worked briefly for various penny-stock brokers back in Long Island before founding or taking-over (sources vary) Stratton Oakmont.

Stratton Oakmont[edit]

While Belfort claims to have founded Stratton Oakmont with friends, other sources say he and his partners bought-out the original founder.[20] In either case, 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 a serious 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.

Stratton Oakmont fraud and conviction[edit]

The NASD (now the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) began pursuing disciplinary actions against Stratton Oakmont in 1987, culminating in its permanent shutdown in 1995.[25] Belfort was then indicted for securities fraud and money laundering.[26]

Belfort served 22 months 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] 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]

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."[30][31]


According to federal prosecutors, Belfort has not honored the restitution requirement of his 2003 sentencing agreement. The agreement requires him to pay 50% of his income towards restitution to the 1,513 clients he defrauded. Of the US$11.6 million that has been recovered by Belfort's victims, US$10.4 million of the total is the result of the sale of forfeited properties. The sentencing agreement mandates a total of US$110 million in restitution.[32]

In October 2013, federal prosecutors filed a complaint against Belfort, who received an income of US$1,767,203 from the publication of his two books and the sale of the movie rights—plus an additional US$24,000, earned from motivational speaking engagements completed since 2007—claiming that he had paid restitution of only US$243,000 over the previous four years. As of November 2013, to keep negotiations open, the U.S. government is not holding Belfort in default of his payments, but it is unclear when the full amount of the mandated restitution will be repaid.[33]

As of January 2014, Belfort had paid only $11 million of his $110 million restitution debt. Prosecutors said that he had fled to Australia to avoid taxes and conceal his assets from his victims.[34]

In May 2014, Belfort said he planned to pay off the remaining restitution through speaking fees by the end of 2014: "My goal is to make north of $100 million so I am paying back everyone this year.”[26][35]

While Belfort also claimed on his website and elsewhere that "100% of the profit" from his books and the Wolf of Wall Street film was being turned over to victims. In June 2014, spokesmen for the U.S. attorney said Belfort's claim was "not factual."[36]

BusinessWeek reported that of approximately $1.2 million paid to Belfort in connection with the film, Belfort had paid only $21,000 toward his restitution obligations.[37]

By September 2014, the amount Belfort had paid toward his restitution debt still stood at $11.6 million.[38]


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.[39][40]

The former Assistant United States Attorney who prosecuted Belfort has said he believes some of the claims in Belfort's book were "invented", and he thinks the "motivational speaking" operation is a fraud.[31]

Film adaptation[edit]

Filming of Scorsese's adaptation of Belfort's memoirs began in August 2012 and the movie was released on December 25, 2013.[40][41] 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.[39] 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 speaker[edit]

Belfort has given motivational speeches.[6][33] In May 2014, at a Dubai event, he told the audience, "I’ll make more this year than I ever made in my best year as a broker."

Personal life[edit]

During his time at Stratton Oakmont, Belfort divorced his first wife, Denise Lombardo (whose name was changed in the film The Wolf of Wall Street), and 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 2 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.[42][43]

Belfort was the final owner of the luxury yacht Nadine, renamed after Caridi, that was originally built for Coco Chanel in 1961. In June 1996, the yacht sank off the east coast of Sardinia[44] and Italian COMSUBIN frogmen 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.[45][46][47]

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.[48]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Tom Leonard (February 25, 2008). "Jordan Belfort: Confessions of the Wolf of Wall Street". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved April 3, 2013. 
  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. Retrieved July 6, 2013. 
  4. ^ Haglund, David (December 31, 2013). "How Accurate Is The Wolf of Wall Street?". Slate. Retrieved February 15, 2014. 
  5. ^ Eaton, Leslie (April 18, 1999). "Beaches, Billy Joel and, Oddly, Swindles; The Island Has Become Home to Stock Scams, But Regulators Are Cracking Down". The New York Times. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c "Wolf of Wall Street back on the prowl: Jordan Belfort". September 28, 2012. Archived from the original on December 15, 2012. Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  7. ^ Belfort, Jordan (2007). The Wolf of Wall Street. New York: Bantam Books. p. 244. ISBN 978-0-345-54933-4. This was serious Mafia stuff, impossible for a Jew like me to fully grasp the nuances of. 
  8. ^ Geoffrey Gray (November 24, 2013). "The Wolf of Wall Street Can’t Sleep". New York. Retrieved November 26, 2014. 
  9. ^ Rob Eshman (December 31, 2013). "‘The Wolf’ and the Jewish problem". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Retrieved December 29, 2014. 
  10. ^ Belfort, Jordan (February 24, 2009). Catching the Wolf of Wall Street. Bantam Dell. Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  11. ^ Veneziani, Vince (March 25, 2010). "Revisiting The Amazing Story Of Jordan Belfort: "The Wolf Of Wall Street"". Business Insider. Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  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. ISBN 978-0-553-90424-6. 
  14. ^ Belfort, Jordan. "The Wolf of Wall Street". Random House. pp. 112. ISBN 978-0-553-80546-8
  15. ^ "Jordan Belfort Biography". Wolf of Wall Street Info. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 
  16. ^ a b Kumar, Nikhil (December 20, 2013). "Jordan Belfort: The real Wolf of Wall Street". The Independent. Retrieved January 22, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Jordan Belfort - The Wolf of Wall Street". YouTube. July 5, 2010. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 
  18. ^ a b c d Solomon, Brian (December 28, 2013). "Meet The Real 'Wolf Of Wall Street' In Forbes' Original Takedown Of Jordan Belfort". Forbes. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  19. ^ Straney, Louis L. (2010). Securities Fraud: Detection, Prevention, and Control. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley. p. 133. ISBN 9780470601570. OCLC 696918833. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  20. ^ a b David Haglund (December 31, 2013). "How Accurate Is The Wolf of Wall Street?". Slate. 
  21. ^ Joe Nocera (December 19, 2013). "Sex and Drugs and I.P.O.’s". The New York Times. 
  22. ^ Gasparino, Charlie. "'Wolf of Wall Street' Gets $1M Pay Day for Movie Rights". Fox Business. Retrieved October 25, 2013. 
  23. ^ Wells, Jane (October 3, 2007). "Who's Jordan Belfort? I'll Tell You Exactly Who He Is". CNBC. Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  24. ^ "The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort — Book — eBook — Audiobook". Random House. Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  25. ^ Nancy A. Condon (December 5, 1996). "NASD Regulation Expels Stratton Oakmont; Principals Also Barred". Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. 
  26. ^ a b c Stefania Bianchi; Mahmoud Habboush (May 19, 2014). "Wolf of Wall Street Belfort Is Aiming for $100 Million Pay". Bloomberg. Retrieved May 21, 2014. 
  27. ^ Newby, Jack (July 13, 2014). "The pump-and-dump schemes behind 'The Wolf of Wall Street'". Retrieved August 7, 2014. 
  28. ^ "Jordan Belfort — Interview from Sunday Profile". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. August 20, 2009. Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  29. ^ a b Gray, Geoffrey (December 2, 2013). "The Wolf of Wall Street Can't Sleep". New York: 64–69. Retrieved October 6, 2014. 
  30. ^ Ronald L. Rubin (January 3, 2014). "How the 'Wolf of Wall Street' Really Did It". The Wall Street Journal. 
  31. ^ a b Joel M. Cohen (January 7, 2014). "The Real Belfort Story Missing From 'Wolf' Movie". The New York Times. 
  32. ^ 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. 
  33. ^ a b Kolhatkar, Sheelah (November 7, 2013). "Jordan Belfort, the Real Wolf of Wall Street". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Bloomberg. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  34. ^ Peter Black (January 31, 2014). "Jordan Belfort STILL Greedy: Real 'Wolf Of Wall Street' Runs To Australia To Avoid Paying Restitution, Earns Millions From Movie, Motivational Speeches, DVD". Design & Trend. 
  35. ^ Bianchi, Stefania; Habboush, Mahmoud (May 19, 2014). "Wolf of Wall Street Belfort Is Aiming for $100 Million Pay". Bloomberg. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  36. ^ Michael Howard (June 12, 2014). "Jordan Belfort, Awful Person, is Now Touring". Esquire. 
  37. ^ Sheelah Kolhatkar (November 7, 2013). "Jordan Belfort, the Real Wolf of Wall Street". Bloomberg Businessweek. 
  38. ^ Sean Martin (September 11, 2014). "Wolf of Wall Street Jordan Belfort: 'I've Redeemed Myself'". International Business Times. 
  39. ^ a b Dockterman, Eliana (December 26, 2013). "The Wolf of Wall Street: The True Story". Time. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  40. ^ a b Rich, Katey (January 7, 2014). "Wolf of Wall Street Editor Thelma Schoonmaker Says Leonardo DiCaprio "Will Do Anything for Marty"". Vanity Fair. Retrieved January 14, 2014. 
  41. ^ Fleming, Mike (April 19, 2012). "TOLDJA! Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio Commit To 'The Wolf Of Wall Street'". PMC. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
  42. ^ Witheridge, Annette (March 2, 2014). "Jordan Belfort: Meet the REAL Wolf of Wall Street as played by Leonardo DiCaprio". Daily Mirror. 
  43. ^ Walker, Rob (10 April 2002). "Genius of Capitalism: Steve Madden". Slate. Retrieved 28 October 2010. 
  44. ^ "I naufraghi dello yacht miliardario salvati in extremis" (in Italian). Corriere Della Sera. June 24, 1996. Retrieved February 18, 2014. 
  45. ^ Wooton, Kenny (May 1997). "The Longest Night". Yachting 181 (5): 54. ISSN 0043-9940. 
  46. ^ "Motor Yacht Nadine". January 1, 2012. Retrieved June 23, 2013. 
  47. ^ Belfort, Jordan (2007). The Wolf of Wall Street. Random House. pp. 406–409. ISBN 978-0-553-80546-8. 
  48. ^ "Anne Koppe- Wolf Of Wall Street Jordan Belfort's Girlfriend/ Fiancee". December 9, 2013. Retrieved May 14, 2014. 
  49. ^ "The wolf of Wall Street". OCLC WorldCat. OCLC. 2001–2014. Retrieved May 22, 2014. 
  50. ^ "Catching the Wolf of Wall Street". OCLC WorldCat. OCLC. 2001–2014. Retrieved May 22, 2014. 

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