Jordan Belfort

Jordan Ross Belfort (/ˈbɛlfərt/; born July 9, 1962) is an American entrepreneur, speaker, author, former stockbroker, and financial criminal. In 1999, he 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.[4] He published the memoir The Wolf of Wall Street in 2007, which was adapted into a Martin Scorsese film of the same name released in 2013, in which he was played by Leonardo DiCaprio.

Jordan Belfort
Belfort in November 2017
Jordan Ross Belfort

(1962-07-09) July 9, 1962 (age 60)
The Bronx, New York City, U.S.
Alma materAmerican University (BSc)
Bayside High School
  • Entrepreneur
  • speaker
  • author
Criminal statusReleased April 2006 after 22 months[1][2]
Denise Lombardo
(m. 1985; div. 1991)
Nadine Caridi
(m. 1991; div. 2005)
Anne Koppe
(m. 2008; div. 2020)
Cristina Invernizzi
(m. 2021)
Conviction(s)Securities fraud, money laundering[1]
Criminal penalty22 months in federal prison, one month in rehab, $110 million in restitution[1]

Early lifeEdit

Belfort was born in 1962 in the Bronx borough of New York City to Jewish parents. His father Max and his mother Leah were both accountants.[5][6][7] He was raised in Bayside, Queens.[1][8][9][6][10][11]

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.[12] Belfort went on to graduate from American University with a degree in biology.[10][13] Belfort planned on using the money earned with Loewenstern to pay for dental school,[14] and he enrolled at the University of Maryland School of Dentistry. He left after the dean of the school said to him on his first day: "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."[15][16]


Early venturesEdit

Belfort became a door-to-door meat and seafood salesman on Long Island, New York.[13] 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 (2,300 kilograms) of beef and fish a week.[13] The business ultimately failed, as he filed for bankruptcy at 25.[13] According to his memoirs and interviews, a family friend helped him find a job as a trainee stockbroker at L.F. Rothschild.[17] Belfort says he was laid off after that firm experienced financial difficulties related to the Black Monday stock market crash of 1987.[15][18][19]

Stratton OakmontEdit

Belfort founded Stratton Oakmont as a franchise of Stratton Securities, then later bought out the original founder.[18] Stratton Oakmont functioned as a boiler room that marketed penny stocks and defrauded investors with "pump and dump" stock sales.[20] During his years at Stratton, Belfort led a life 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][21] Stratton Oakmont at one point employed over 1,000 stock brokers and was involved in stock issues totaling more than $1 billion, including being behind the initial public offering for footwear company Steve Madden. The firm was targeted by law enforcement officials throughout nearly its entire history, and its notoriety inspired the film Boiler Room (2000),[22] as well as the biopic The Wolf of Wall Street (2013).

Stratton Oakmont was under near-constant scrutiny from the National Association of Securities Dealers (now the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) from 1989 onward. Finally, in December 1996, the NASD expelled Stratton Oakmont, putting it out of business.[23] Belfort was then indicted for securities fraud and money laundering in 1999.[24][25]

Belfort served 22 months of a four-year sentence at the Taft Correctional Institution in Taft, California, in exchange for a plea deal with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for running pump-and-dump scams that led to investor losses of approximately $200 million.[1][26] Belfort was ordered to pay back $110.4 million that he swindled from stock buyers.[27] Belfort shared a cell with Tommy Chong while serving his sentence, and Chong encouraged him to write about his experiences as a stockbroker.[28] The pair remained friends after their release from prison,[28] with Belfort crediting Chong for his new career direction as a motivational speaker and writer.[29] At a motivational talk that he delivered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, on May 19, 2014, Belfort stated:

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 per cent of the business was legitimate. ... It was all brokerage firm issues. It was all legitimate, nothing to do with liquidating stocks.[25]

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]


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 further mandated. About $10 million of the $110 million that had been recovered by Belfort's victims as of 2013 was the result of the sale of forfeited properties.[32]

In October 2013, federal prosecutors filed a complaint against Belfort. Several days later, the U.S. government withdrew its motion to find Belfort in default of his payments, after his lawyers argued that he 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 (after leaving 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.[33]

The final deal that 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. Belfort 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.[34]

Prosecutors also said that he had fled to Australia to avoid taxes and conceal his assets from his victims,[35] but later recanted their statement, which had been given to The Wall Street Journal,[36] by issuing Belfort an official apology and requesting that The Wall Street Journal print a retraction.[37]

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. But in June 2014, spokesmen for the U.S. attorney said that Belfort's claim was "not factual",[38] and that he had received money from the initial sale of the movie rights that was not entirely put towards his restitution repayment.[36]

BusinessWeek reported that Belfort had paid only $21,000 toward his restitution obligations out of approximately $1.2 million paid to him in connection with the film before its release.[39] Belfort has stated that the government refused his offer to put 100% of his book deal money towards his restitution.[39][40]


Belfort was previously a skeptic of cryptocurrency, having called Bitcoin "frickin' insanity" and "mass delusion." As Belfort learned more about cryptocurrency, and the prices skyrocketed, he changed his mind. Belfort has declined offers to create Wolf-themed N.F.T.s despite saying that "[he] could easily make $10 million." Belfort has also said that he is "massively looking forward to regulation" of cryptocurrency. Belfort is currently an investor in several cryptocurrency start-ups.[41]


Belfort wrote the 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.[4] A film based on his books opened in 2013 starring Leonardo DiCaprio (as Belfort), Jonah Hill, and Margot Robbie; the film was written by Terence Winter and directed by Martin Scorsese.[42][43]

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.[29] The former Federal prosecutor who led the criminal investigation of Belfort said that he "invented much", that "he aggrandized his importance and reverence for him by others at his firm", and that "The real Belfort story still includes thousands of victims who lost hundreds of millions of dollars that they never will be repaid."[31]

Motivational speakingEdit

Belfort has given motivational speeches.[4][33] This has included a tour of live seminars in Australia entitled "The Truth Behind His Success", in addition to other appearances. In a 60 Minutes interview regarding his new career, Belfort stated of his previous life that his "greatest regret is losing people's money".[citation needed] He also runs sales seminars entitled "Jordan Belfort's Straight Line Sales Psychology".[44] When he first began speaking, he focused largely on motivation and ethics, then moved his focus to sales skills and entrepreneurship.[29]

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 includes the importance of business ethics and learning from the mistakes that he made during the 1990s—such as believing that he was justified in skirting the rules of financial regulators simply because it was a common thing to do.[34] 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 sales advice.[29][44] Some reviewers have reacted negatively to the content of the speeches, specifically Belfort's recounting of stories from the 1990s.[45]

Australian training scandalEdit

An investigation led by 7News and The Sunday Mail uncovered links between Belfort and employment company Career Pathways Australia run by Paul Conquest, who also has majority-ownership of Face to Face Training.[46] These two brands were heavily promoted at Belfort workshops held at Brisbane's Eatons Hill Hotel. Belfort reportedly gave two workshops on Sales for the staff of Face to Face Training.[47]

Face to Face Training received $3.9 million from state government during FY-2014 and $6.34 million during FY-2015 for its training and assessment services. The majority of this money was expected to be spent on service training and certification which did not happen. 9 News Australia called the training program a scam and the certification program a "Tick Flick"[48] in its 60 Minutes segment.

Personal lifeEdit

While running Stratton Oakmont, Belfort and his first wife Denise Lombardo were divorced. He later married Nadine Caridi, a British-born, Bay Ridge, Brooklyn-raised model whom he met at a party. He had two children with her. Belfort and Caridi ultimately separated following her claims of domestic violence, which were fueled by his problems with drug addiction and infidelity. They divorced in 2005.[49][50]

Belfort was the final owner of the luxury yacht Nadine, which was originally built for Coco Chanel in 1961. The yacht was renamed after Caridi. In June 1996, the yacht sank off the east coast of Sardinia[51] and frogmen from the Italian Navy special forces unit COMSUBIN rescued all who were aboard the vessel. Belfort said that 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.[52][53]

In the fall of 2021, a hacker stole $300,000 in digital tokens from Belfort's cryptocurrency wallet.[41]

Belfort is also an avid tennis player.[29]



  • The Wolf of Wall Street (Bantam, 2007) ISBN 978-0553805468.[54]
  • Catching the Wolf of Wall Street: More Incredible True Stories of Fortunes, Schemes, Parties, and Prison (Bantam, 2009) ISBN 978-0553807042.[55]
  • Way of the Wolf: Become a Master Closer with Straight Line Selling (2017) ISBN 9781501164286.


Filming of Scorsese's adaptation of Belfort's memoirs began in August 2012, and the film was released on December 25, 2013.[43][56] Time magazine reported that many of the escapades depicted in the film are consistent with Belfort's memoirs and what was written about him in Forbes articles, although some of the Forbes-related content was embellished.[42]

Belfort was portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio, who won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance. Belfort has a cameo in the closing scene of the film as an Auckland Straight Line host.[57]

In popular cultureEdit

Jordan Belfort was also featured in an episode of American Greed (Season 9, episode 8) called "The Real Wolf of Wall Street”.[58]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Leonard, Tom (February 25, 2008). "Jordan Belfort: Confessions of the Wolf of Wall Street". The Daily Telegraph. London, England. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
  2. ^ "Federal Bureau of Prisons". April 28, 2006. Retrieved April 3, 2013.
  3. ^ Haglund, David (December 31, 2013). "How Accurate Is The Wolf of Wall Street?". Slate. Retrieved February 15, 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Dunn, James (September 25, 2009). "Wolf of Wall Street back on the prowl: Jordan Belfort". The Australian. Archived from the original on December 15, 2012. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  5. ^ Belfort, Jordan (2007). The Wolf of Wall Street. New York City: 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.
  6. ^ a b Gray, Geoffrey (November 24, 2013). "The Wolf of Wall Street Can't Sleep". New York. Retrieved November 26, 2014.
  7. ^ Eshman, Rob (December 31, 2013). "'The Wolf' and the Jewish problem". The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles. Retrieved December 29, 2014.
  8. ^ Belfort, Jordan (February 24, 2009). Catching the Wolf of Wall Street. Bantam Dell. ISBN 9780553906011. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  9. ^ Veneziani, Vince (March 25, 2010). "Revisiting The Amazing Story Of Jordan Belfort: "The Wolf Of Wall Street"". Business Insider. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  10. ^ a b Gray, Geoffrey (December 30, 2013). "Meet Jordan Belfort, the Real Wolf of Wall Street". Vulture. Retrieved December 30, 2013.
  11. ^ Belfort, Jordan (September 25, 2007). The Wolf of Wall Street. New York City: Random House Publishing Group. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-553-90424-6.
  12. ^ Belfort, Jordan. "The Wolf of Wall Street". Random House. pp. 112. ISBN 978-0-553-80546-8
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ "Jordan Belfort Biography". Wolf of Wall Street Info. Archived from the original on February 22, 2014. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  15. ^ a b Kumar, Nikhil (December 20, 2013). "Jordan Belfort: The real Wolf of Wall Street". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on June 14, 2022. Retrieved January 22, 2014.
  16. ^ "Jordan Belfort - The Wolf of Wall Street". YouTube. July 5, 2010. Archived from the original on October 30, 2021. Retrieved May 14, 2014.
  17. ^ Straney, Louis L. (2010). Securities Fraud: Detection, Prevention, and Control. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley. p. 133. ISBN 9780470601570. OCLC 696918833. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  18. ^ a b Haglund, David (December 31, 2013). "How Accurate Is The Wolf of Wall Street?". Slate.
  19. ^ Nocera, Joe (December 19, 2013). "Sex and Drugs and I.P.O.'s". The New York Times.
  20. ^ Gasparino, Charlie (March 12, 2013). "'Wolf of Wall Street' Gets $1M Pay Day for Movie Rights". Fox Business. Archived from the original on February 17, 2014. Retrieved October 25, 2013.
  21. ^ Wells, Jane (October 3, 2007). "Who's Jordan Belfort? I'll Tell You Exactly Who He Is". CNBC. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  22. ^ "The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort — Book — eBook — Audiobook". Random House. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  23. ^ Condon, Nancy A. (December 5, 1996). "NASD Regulation Expels Stratton Oakmont; Principals Also Barred". Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. Archived from the original on October 4, 2014. Retrieved October 26, 2014.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ a b Bianchi, Stefania; Habboush, Mahmoud (May 19, 2014). "Wolf of Wall Street Belfort Is Aiming for $100 Million Pay". Bloomberg. Retrieved May 21, 2014.
  26. ^ Newby, Jack (July 13, 2014). "The pump-and-dump schemes behind 'The Wolf of Wall Street'". Archived from the original on July 22, 2014. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  27. ^ "Jordan Belfort — Interview from Sunday Profile". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. August 20, 2009. Archived from the original on December 30, 2013. Retrieved June 23, 2013.
  28. ^ a b Gray, Geoffrey (December 2, 2013). "The Wolf of Wall Street Can't Sleep". New York. pp. 64–69. Retrieved October 6, 2014.
  29. ^ a b c d e Stewart, Cameron (May 10, 2014). "Who's afraid of Jordan Belfort, the Wolf of Wall Street?". The Australian.
  30. ^ Rubin, Ronald L. (January 3, 2014). "How the 'Wolf of Wall Street' Really Did It". The Wall Street Journal.
  31. ^ a b Cohen, Joel M. (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. 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. ^ a b "Wolf of Wall Street: Q&A with Jordan Belfort". sacbee. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  35. ^ Black, Peter (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. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014.
  36. ^ a b Levinson, Charles (January 14, 2014). "Prosecutors Give Poor Reviews to Restitution From Jordan Belfort, 'Wolf of Wall Street'". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  37. ^ "US attorney's office apologises to 'Wolf of Wall Street' Jordan Belfort over article suggesting he is hiding in Australia". NewsComAu. January 15, 2014. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  38. ^ Howard, Michael (June 12, 2014). "Jordan Belfort, Awful Person, is Now Touring". Esquire.
  39. ^ a b Kolhatkar, Sheelah (November 7, 2013). "Jordan Belfort, the Real Wolf of Wall Street". Bloomberg Businessweek.
  40. ^ Martin, Sean (September 11, 2014). "Wolf of Wall Street Jordan Belfort: 'I've Redeemed Myself'". International Business Times.
  41. ^ a b Yaffe-Bellany, David (April 15, 2022). "The Wolf of Crypto". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
  42. ^ a b Dockterman, Eliana (December 26, 2013). "The Wolf of Wall Street: The True Story". Time. Retrieved January 14, 2014.
  43. ^ 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.
  44. ^ 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.
  45. ^ Youn, Soo. "Jordan Belfort's Groupon Sales Seminar - Hollywood Reporter". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  46. ^ Gough, Anthony (March 28, 2015). "Taxpayers keep Wolf from the door". Courier & Mail. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  47. ^ Carmody, Broede (April 18, 2016). "Training company with links to the Wolf of Wall Street collapses into liquidation". SmartCompany. Retrieved December 31, 2017.
  48. ^ WalrusRider (May 17, 2017), Jordan Belfort Caught Scamming in Australia - "The Wolf of Queensland" (2015), archived from the original on July 3, 2017, retrieved December 31, 2017
  49. ^ Witheridge, Annette (March 2, 2014). "Jordan Belfort: Meet the REAL Wolf of Wall Street as played by Leonardo DiCaprio". Daily Mirror.
  50. ^ Walker, Rob (April 10, 2002). "Genius of Capitalism: Steve Madden". Slate. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  51. ^ "I naufraghi dello yacht miliardario salvati in extremis". Corriere Della Sera (in Italian). No. paywall. June 24, 1996. Retrieved December 3, 2019.
  52. ^ Wooton, Kenny (May 1997). "The Longest Night". Yachting. 181 (5): 54. ISSN 0043-9940.
  53. ^ Belfort, Jordan (2007). The Wolf of Wall Street. Random House. pp. 406–409. ISBN 978-0-553-80546-8.
  54. ^ The wolf of Wall Street. OCLC WorldCat. OCLC. 2001–2014. OCLC 123912480.
  55. ^ Catching the Wolf of Wall Street. OCLC WorldCat. OCLC. 2001–2014. OCLC 232129347.
  56. ^ Fleming, Mike (April 19, 2012). "TOLDJA! Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio Commit To 'The Wolf Of Wall Street'". PMC. Retrieved August 11, 2012.
  57. ^ JJ Duncan, Zimbio (December 24, 2013). "3 Things That Completely Undermine 'The Wolf Of Wall Street'". Business Insider. Retrieved June 11, 2022.
  58. ^ "CNBC - American Greed episode preview". CNBC.

External linksEdit