If you haven’t already read or heard, I’m not a big fan of Jordan Belfort, aka the real Wolf of Wall Street. I’ve written about him in a few posts already, bashing the criminal and painting a true picture of the guy since Martin Scorsese didn’t think that was appropriate when directing the movie. Check out the posts here and here.
If you didn’t already know, Jordan Belfort and his partner Danny Porush helped orchestrate a scheme at the firm called Stratton Oakmont back in the 90’s. Much of the scammers’ ill-gotten gains were spent on cocaine, hookers and kinky sex. That is, before the FBI stepped in and ended their party.
Belfort does make his money legally now by giving motivational speeches (I have no idea why anyone thinks he would be good at that, but according to his employer’s website, he can make as much as $150,000 per booking), but here are some reason why Belfort is STILL a scumbag, despite claims to have “reinvented his life for the better.”
· He lives in California but his employer is base in Australia, which conveniently makes it much more difficult for the government to get their hands on his money and distribute it to the more than 1,500 people that he ripped off.
· He was sentenced to pay roughly $110 million in restitution, but most of that has not been paid. He still owes nearly a $100 million, and of the amount that he has paid, most of it came from selling assets near the beginning of his sentence.
· He has only paid roughly $250,000 in restitution since 2007.
· He told the New York Post that, “It’s easier to get rich quick when you don’t follow the rules,’’
· In a Facebook post, Belfort insisted he’s “not making a dime’’ from the movie, saying all of his profits from the book and film will go to paying back the investors he cheated. This may be true, but it’s misleading. He makes it sound like the money he would make from the books and movie would make investors whole, when there is no way he will earn anywhere close to the $100 million needed to do that.
· His partner in crime, Porush, is also back in the high life. He runs a medical-supply business in Florida, which has employed several other former workers from the infamous Stratton Oakmont firm and now lives in a $4 million mansion and drive matching Rolls-Royce Corniche convertibles, according to the Post.
· He has been compared to Bernie Madoff, the operator of a Ponzi scheme that is considered to be the largest financial fraud in U.S. history.
· Belfort got a cameo near the end of the film based off of his life, and it even advertised the motivational speaking that he now does.
· His former body guard, Bo Dietl, told Policy Mic that Belfort is still a scumbag.
· Dietl also said that he never saw Jordan sober while working for him.
And here are some disturbing “fact and fiction” revelations about the wolf, according to TIME:
· Fact: Belfort’s first boss told him the keys to success were masturbation, cocaine and hookers. According to the book, a broker named Mark Hanna gave him this advice early on in his career.
· Fact: Belfort and his partner owned shares of a risky stock and had their brokers at Stratton Oakmont brokerage aggressively sell the stock to inflate the price. They then sold the stock themselves to turn a profit.
· Fact: Forbes magazine exposed Belfort, calling him a “twisted Robin Hood.” Though Belfort wasn’t on the cover, Forbes did run a profile of him in which they called him “a twisted version of Robin Hood, who robs from the rich and gives to himself and his merry band of brokers.”
· Fact: Stratton Oakmont took Steve Madden public. Steve Madden did give a speech the day of the IPO, to which the Stratton Oakmont brokers responded with jeers.
· Fact: Belfort laundered his money into Swiss banks using his in-laws. His wife’s mother and aunt both helped smuggle the money into Switzerland.
· Fact: Danny Porush (Donnie Azoff) was married to his cousin.
· Fact (mostly): The driving on Quaaludes scene. It was a Mercedes, not a Lamborghini. But the rest is true to Belfort’s memoir.
· Fact: The office parties included a “midget-tossing competition.”
· Fact: The company billed prostitutes to the corporate card.
· Fact: He crashed a helicopter in his front yard while high.
· Fact: He sunk a yacht in Italy, and the yacht used to belong to Coco Chanel.
· Fact: He called his trophy wife “duchess.”
· Fact: He served a reduced prison sentence after ratting on his friends. In the film version, Belfort tries to save his partner from incriminating himself. In reality, Belfort ratted out his partner Porush for a reduced sentence. Belfort only spent two years in prison.
· Fiction: He only scammed wealthy people. One of the biggest complaints about the film was that it didn’t show any victims. Though Belfort claims in his book and in the film that he only took from the wealthy, the New York Times reports that many small business owners are still trying to recover financially from Belfort’s scheme.