Ever since \u201cThe Wolf of Wall Street\u201d came out, everyone wants to know what I think of the main character\u2019s real-life inspiration, Jordan Belfort. After all, he was involved with penny stocks, too. My life must be just like his, right? Absolutely not. Jordan Belfort broke the law. He defrauded his investors. He was arrested \u2014 and pleaded guilty to \u2014 money laundering and securities fraud. Nope. I\u2019m not a fan of Jordan Belfort. In fact, I hate that people associate his schemes and thievery with my niche \u2014 penny stocks. It keeps people from taking advantage of the crazy spikes that penny stocks can experience in short periods of time. My strategy for trading penny stocks is completely legal. I\u2019m no scammer. The companies offering penny stocks might be sketchy and dishonest, but I\u2019m totally transparent about who I am, what I do, and how I trade. I use informational inefficiencies to my advantage with penny stocks, trading based on patterns that I\u2019ve identified over the past 20+ years. I share every single trade publicly. And I use trading as a means to teach my Trading Challenge students my strategy. I don\u2019t scam people out of their money. Let\u2019s take a look at my problem with Jordan Belfort \u2014 why I don\u2019t believe him when he says that he\u2019s changed, and why his story should inspire you to become self-sufficient. The Problem With \u201cThe Wolf of Wall Street\u201d In case you\u2019re the only trader in the world who\u2019s never seen the movie, \u201cThe Wolf of Wall Street\u201d is a movie based on Jordan Belfort\u2019s autobiography. It chronicles the founding, heyday, and eventual downfall of his investment firm, Stratton Oakmont. Belfort and his partner, Danny Porush (portrayed as \u201cDonnie Azoff\u201d in the movie to avoid a lawsuit) used the oldest trick in the penny stock book to lure in unsuspecting investors. They pumped up stocks to inflate the price \u2014 then they\u2019d unload their own shares, leaving people holding the bag. Yup, a classic pump scenario. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vdzoBsEm6Y0A The problem? The movie paints a drug-and-prostitute fueled picture of large-scale financial scamming \u2026 But I don\u2019t think it tells the whole story behind Jordan Belfort\u2019s activities. Giving Penny Stocks a Bad Name Does the movie \u201cThe Wolf of Wall Street\u201d give penny stocks a bad name? Well, the staff of Stratton Oakmont allegedly used deceptive tactics to pump up low-priced stocks for their own benefit. In watching that, people who don\u2019t understand the stock market might think, \u2018oh, penny stocks are illegal and dangerous. Better stay away.\u2019 Trading penny stocks is not illegal. The companies offering penny stocks might often be sketchy \u2026 but these stocks can still experience massive gains in short periods of time based on informational inefficiencies. I don\u2019t trust these companies any further than I could throw them. I don\u2019t invest in penny stocks. But I\u2019m happy to trade them for very short time periods to capture those big price moves. It\u2019s all about your approach. You\u2019ve got to understand the penny stock game. That\u2019s what I teach students in my Trading Challenge. Trading penny stocks isn\u2019t about finding a company you believe in. It\u2019s not about getting in on the ground floor. It\u2019s about taking advantage of short-term price fluctuations. Trading penny stocks isn\u2019t the problem. It\u2019s what pumpers like Belfort did that\u2019s a problem. What About the Victims? Another problem? I don\u2019t think the movie did justice to the victims. People seem to think that Belfort only took money from wealthy people. But in reality, that\u2019s not the case. According to the New York Times, many small business owners are still trying to recover financially from Belfort\u2019s scheme\u2026 This makes my blood boil. I\u2019ve had my fair share of scammers pretending to be me \u2014 I\u2019ve witnessed firsthand how scams can harm individuals and small businesses. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vjfISz6amQJQ& It\u2019s a terrible thing. Jordan Belfort took advantage of people. I find that unforgivable. What\u2019s Jordan Belfort Up to Now? In 2003, Belfort was sentenced to four years in prison and fined $110 million. He ended up serving 22 months. It was during his time behind bars that he got the idea to write his memoir \u2014 an idea fueled by his cellmate, comedian Tommy Chong. Nope, you can\u2019t make this stuff up. These days, Jordan Belfort makes his money in different ways \u2014 through motivational speaking engagements and sales training programs. Apparently, he can command as much as $100K per day\u2026 But he still gets really touchy when people start asking him about his fraudulent activity. During one 60 Minutes Australia interview, he got angry, called it a \u201chatchet job\u201d and walked out. Belfort claims to have reinvented himself for the better and that everything\u2019s on the level... I\u2019m not buying it. If you ask me, he\u2019s still a wolf \u2014 only now, he\u2019s dressed in sheep\u2019s clothing. Jordan Belfort: I\u2019m Not a Believer As Jordan Belfort told the New York Post, \u201cIt\u2019s easier to get rich quick when you don\u2019t follow the rules.\u2019\u2019 Nice, right? But what do you expect from a guy who\u2019s been compared to Bernie Madoff, the operator of a Ponzi scheme and considered to be the largest financial fraud in U.S. history? Here\u2019s why I\u2019m not heading up the Jordan Belfort fan club\u2026 Restitution and Money Woes In 2003, Jordan Belfort was sentenced to pay about $110 million in restitution. But despite the fact that he was ordered to pay 50% of his income to victims once free, his payments haven\u2019t made a huge dent. After an initial chunk that he paid with proceeds from selling property, his succeeding payments haven\u2019t been exactly fast and furious. This has put him in \u2018deadbeat\u2019 territory. As of 2018, he still owed about $97 million. The government noticed \u2014 and tried to pin him down to start paying back his 1,500+ victims. Prosecutors believed that Belfort earned \u201cat least $9 million in speaking engagements between 2013 and 2015 but pocketed it all.\u201d They also claimed that he was collecting income from a design business. And what about income from the wildly successful book and movie? In a Facebook post, Belfort insisted he\u2019s \u201cnot making a dime\u2019\u2019 from the movie, saying all of his profits from the book and film will go to paying back the investors he cheated. But consider this... In 2011, Belfort was paid a little over $1 million for the rights to his story. But government documents reveal that he only paid $21K in restitution that year. The math just doesn\u2019t add up\u2026 Just this year, it was announced that Belfort was suing Red Granite, the production company responsible for \u201cThe Wolf of Wall Street.\u201d The company was later linked to a huge embezzlement scandal. Why take legal action? According to Belfort\u2019s lawyer, Red Granite\u2019s \u201cdid not disclose to Mr Belfort that they were using funds obtained from engaging in racketeering and other criminal activity.\u201d Interesting logic from someone who made his fortune from scamming others... Living Large in a Land Down Under? In 2014, The Wall Street Journal reported that Belfort was living in Australia in an attempt to avoid repaying his victims. Belfort took issue, saying: \u201cthe US Attorney\u2019s Office, through my attorney, has issued me a personal apology\u201d because of the claims. Later, the Wall Street Journal issued a retraction. But wait, there\u2019s more sketchiness... For a while, Belfort\u2019s speaking engagements were handled through an Australia-based company called Face to Face Training. The company reportedly wasn\u2019t on the level. It ran into trouble after receiving millions of dollars from the government to be spent on service training and certifications that allegedly didn\u2019t happen\u2026 Not long after, Face to Face collapsed into liquidation. Belfort claims he had no idea what was going on with Face to Face Training. However, as this article reveals, Belfort had close ties to Career Pathways Australia, a company run by Paul Conquest \u2014 who also owned the majority of Face to Face Training. Belfort apparently helped Conquest\u2019s company in a variety of ways \u2014 brokering deals, coaching them on how to deal with media inquiries, and helping promote the business to potential clients. What About His Partner? As for Belfort\u2019s partner in crime, Danny Porush? I wouldn\u2019t exactly call him a role model. After his federal indictment, Porush was convicted of insider trading, perjury, conspiracy, and money laundering. He was ordered to pay $200 million in restitution and sentenced to four years in prison. He was released in 2004 after serving 39 months. After his release, he reportedly got into medical sales \u2026 and in more trouble with the law. In 2006, he was sued by his first wife \u2014 for not paying child support. Then, in 2014, Porush got in trouble again for alleged shadiness with his medical sales company. After initially being named in a whistleblower case involving fraudulent Medicare claims, the lawsuit was amended and refiled, alleging that Porush urged telemarketers to use high-pressure tactics to get people to buy medical supplies they might not need. Eventually, though, the case was thrown out. What about his restitution? Apparently Porush, like his old buddy Belfort, has only paid a small portion of what he took from people. Fact vs. Fiction: What\u2019s True About Jordan Belfort? Some of the events in \u201cThe Wolf of Wall Street\u201d might seem a little off the wall \u2026 So what\u2019s true and what\u2019s not? According to TIME, all of these things are true... \tOne of Belfort\u2019s first bosses, a broker named Mark Hanna, told him early in his career that the keys to success were \u201cmasturbation, cocaine and hookers.\u201d \tBelfort and his partner, Danny Porush, had their Stratton Oakmont brokers aggressively sell shares of risky stocks to inflate the prices. Then, when the prices were at highs, they unloaded their own shares to earn profits. \tIn 1991, Forbes actually exposed Belfort, referring to him as \u201ca twisted version of Robin Hood, who robs from the rich and gives to himself and his merry band of brokers.\u201d Counterintuitively, this scathing profile only attracted more brokers to want to work for Stratton Oakmont. \tStratton Oakmont did in fact take Steve Madden public. Despite the fact that the company is real, Stratton Oakmont\u2019s brokers did their typical thing with it, driving up the price. \tThe Switzerland money-laundering scheme from the movie actually happened. Belfort did indeed launder money into Swiss accounts by having his wife\u2019s mother and aunt smuggle the money abroad. \tBelfort\u2019s real-life partner, Danny Porush, was actually married to his cousin. But they\u2019re now divorced. \tThat infamous driving on quaaludes scene from the movie? It lines up with Belfort\u2019s memoir \u2014 but the car was actually a Mercedes, not a Lamborghini. \tStratton Oakmont office parties featured a \u201cmidget-tossing competition.\u201d \tTalk about a tax break ... Stratton Oakmont as a company billed prostitutes to the corporate card \u2014 then wrote off the charges in their taxes. \tJordan Belfort crashed a helicopter in his front yard while he was high. \tHe purchased a yacht that once belonged to Coco Chanel, named it after his wife \u2026 and later sunk it in Italy. \tBelfort called his second wife \u201cduchess.\u201d \tHis prison sentence was reduced after he ratted on his friends. The Bottom Line on Jordan Belfort Can people change? Sure. Has Jordan Belfort changed? I\u2019m not convinced. Jordan Belfort has proven time and time again that he\u2019s an effective salesperson. He can make money. But does that make him an inspiration? One of the biggest lessons I\u2019ve learned in life is that once you have a platform, it\u2019s your responsibility to use it for good. That\u2019s what I\u2019ve chosen to do with my charity work. I wish that Jordan Belfort would use his intelligence and influence for good. I hope that in reading this, you\u2019re starting to see the reason why I\u2019m always telling you that the key to \u2018success\u2019 in trading is becoming self-sufficient. https:\/\/www.youtube.com\/watch?vc6c-xyyQ6gU When you rely on others to tell you what to trade and when, you\u2019re at their mercy. Some people might have good intentions. Others might be self-serving pumpers... It\u2019s not just about figuring out who to trust. It\u2019s about building a solid foundation of knowledge so you can rely on yourself and your own judgment when making change. Real consistency in the stock market takes self-reliance. It requires time, determination, and a ton of studying. Do you want to graduate from the class of newbie followers and become a smart, self-sufficient trader? It starts with education. My Trading Challenge is the sum of everything I\u2019ve learned in 20+ years in the market. I want my students to learn from what I did right and wrong so that they can do even better than me. Is it effective? Well, my top student, Tim Grittani, has made over $12 million* \u2014 about double what I\u2019ve made. And he did it in about half the time as it took me to hit $6 million in profits.* Not ready to take that step yet? I\u2019ve also got a new 30-Day Bootcamp for traders. I filmed it with one of my top students, Matthew Monaco \u2014 it\u2019s an incredible resource to familiarize yourself with the penny stock niche. It\u2019s my honor and my privilege to educate traders and help them find their own way \u2014 legitimately. Do you promise to trade responsibly? Are you ready to take the next step?