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Steve Madden (born 1958) is an American fashion designer, businessman and convicted felon. He is most well known as the founder and former CEO of Steve Madden, Ltd., a publicly traded company.

Steve Madden
Steven Madden

1958 (age 60–61)
Steve Madden
Wendy Ballew (m. 2005⁠–⁠2015)

Life and careerEdit

Madden was born in Far Rockaway, Queens, the son of a Jewish mother and an Irish Catholic father.[1] He grew up in adjoining Lawrence and graduated from the local high school[2][3] in Nassau County, New York.[4][5] After high school, Madden studied at the University of Miami for two years before returning to Long Island.[6] The youngest of three brothers, he started the company with $1,100 in 1990 by selling shoes out of the trunk of his car.

Criminal convictionEdit

Madden's financial affairs were closely entangled with Long Island "pump and dump" brokerage house Stratton Oakmont, cofounded by Madden's childhood friend Danny Porush, who first lent him money to expand his fledgling company, and then underwrote its initial public offering.

In June 2000, a class action lawsuit was filed against Madden for issuing materially false and misleading statements during the Class Period.[7][dead link] A settlement of $9 million was reached in 2004.[8] In 2001, the SEC filed charges against Madden in Federal Court in New York state, alleging SEC violations.[9] Because the violations were not criminal in nature, the SEC was seeking to recover $1,637,000 in a combination of illegally avoided losses, interest, and a civil penalty.

In 2002, Madden was convicted of stock manipulation, money, and securities fraud. He was sentenced to 41 months in prison, and was made to resign as CEO from Steven Madden, Ltd. and from the board of directors.[10] Shortly after resigning as CEO, Madden set himself up as a creative consultant with Steven Madden, Ltd., a position for which he drew $700,000 even when he was in prison.[10]

Madden served time in the Federal Prison Camp, Eglin, at Eglin Air Force Base, and later the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex, near Ocala, Florida. Madden was released from prison in April 2005.[11] He then attended a New York City halfway house.[12] Madden's attorney, Joel Winograd, said that Madden would stay at the house for 60 days.[13] After his release from a halfway house, he was restricted to home confinement for a period.[14]


Since Madden was released from prison in 2005, the company quickly rebounded, increasing revenue by nearly $100 million in 2006 to $475.1 million.[15] That same year, Steven Madden, Ltd. was named 'Company of the Year' for the second time at the Footwear News Achievement Awards.[16]

With Madden currently serving as the founder and design chief, the company continues to show growth year-over-year reporting $1.65 billion in revenue for FY2018.[17]

Madden contributed to The Doe Fund, a charity devoted to working on the causes of homelessness, addiction, and criminal recidivism.[18]

In popular cultureEdit

Steve Madden (played by Jake Hoffman) is featured in the Martin Scorsese film The Wolf of Wall Street, which is based on the Jordan Belfort memoir of the same name. In the movie, Madden is seen visiting Stratton Oakmont, where Belfort gives the brokers a rousing pep talk about pushing Madden's stock.[19] After viewing the film, Madden criticized the portrayal of him as "too nerdy."[20]

Personal lifeEdit

Madden admits to having abused alcohol and various drugs,[21] and later attended court-ordered rehab.[22]

Madden married Wendy Ballew, his former director of operations, in 2005 after he was released from prison. The couple have three children, twins Jack and Stevie Madden,[23] and Goldie Ryan Madden.[24] The couple divorced in 2015.[25]

Awards and honorsEdit

  • Footwear News Person of the Year Award (December 2011)[26]
  • NASDAQ Honors Steve Madden & 20 Year Anniversary (June 2010)[27]
  • Two Ten Foundation Honors Steve Madden (June 2010)[28]


  1. ^ Berkman, Johanna (February 26, 2001). "Steve Madden: Crisis of the Sole". New York. Retrieved 2015-01-11.
  2. ^ "Steve Madden: Crisis of the Sole".
  3. ^ Lawrence a Winner in NBC Smash Contest Designer Steve Madden also set to match prize. "Lawrence High School will see an infusion of $6,000 to get its Sandy-damaged auditorium in top shape after the school was named one of five grand prize winners in NBC Smash's "Make a Musical" contest, which will be matched by alumnus and fashion designer Steve Madden."
  4. ^ Dominguez, Robert (October 19, 2006). "Bringing It Back Home. Steve Madden's new ad campaign focuses on his fashion center - Queens". Daily News. Retrieved 2015-01-11. He grew up in Lawrence, L.I., where he worked in shoe stores from his high-school days until he started his own business in 1990, at 33, with an investment of just $1,100.
  5. ^ Weisman, Aly (January 14, 2014). "Steve Madden Thought His 'Wolf Of Wall Street' Portrayal Was 'Too Nerdy'". Business Insider. Retrieved 2015-01-11.
  6. ^ "Steve Madden | Biography & Facts".
  7. ^ "Class Action Against Steve Madden".
  8. ^ "Steven Madden, Ltd. case". Archived from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-08-03.
  9. ^ "Steve Madden: Litigation Release No. 17015 / May 23, 2001".
  10. ^ a b Walker, Rob (10 April 2002). "Genius of Capitalism: Steve Madden". Slate. Retrieved 28 October 2010.
  11. ^ Setoodeh, Ramin. "Back on His Feet Again." Newsweek. 2007. 1. Retrieved on January 10, 2010.
  12. ^ "Madden Back in NYC After Prison Release". April 25, 2005. Retrieved January 10, 2010.
  13. ^ "Steve Madden released from federal prison." Newsday. April 16, 2005. Retrieved on January 10, 2010.
  14. ^ Bonawitz, Amy. "Passages." People. June 27, 2005. Volume 63, No. 25. Retrieved on January 10, 2010.
  15. ^ Setoodeh, Ramin. "How Prison Made Steve Madden a Better Man." Newsweek. 2007. [1]"
  16. ^ Ramin, Setoodeh (July 15, 2007). "How Prison Made Steve Madden a Better Man". Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  17. ^ "Steve Madden Ltd". Retrieved August 22, 2019.
  18. ^ "Who We Are" The Doe Fund[2] Archived 2016-04-25 at the Wayback Machine"
  19. ^ "Steve Madden Thought His 'Wolf Of Wall Street' Portrayal Was 'Too Nerdy'". Business Insider. 14 January 2014.
  20. ^ Johnson, Richard. "Steve Madden not keen on his portrayal in 'Wolf of Wall Street'". Page Six. Retrieved 2 March 2016.
  21. ^ Barrett, Devlin (December 19, 2001). "SHOE HEEL MAY WALK ; JUDGE SYMPATHETIC TO MADDEN'S DRUG AND BOOZE WOES".
  22. ^ Holson, Laura M. (February 13, 2013). "Steve Madden Is Back" – via
  23. ^ Triggs, Charlotte (October 4, 2007). "Steve Madden, Wife Welcome Twins". People. Retrieved 2015-01-11.
  24. ^ Leon, Anya (March 13, 2013). "Steve Madden Welcomes Daughter Goldie Ryan". People. Retrieved 2015-01-11.
  25. ^ "Shoe mogul Steve Madden to divorce wife who was his first employee and who he proposed to in prison after 10 years of marriage". Daily Mail. Retrieved 1 March 2016.
  26. ^ "Footwear News". Footwear News.
  27. ^ The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc. "UPDATE -- Steven Madden, Ltd. (SHOO) Chief Executive Officer to Ring the NASDAQ Stock Market Closing Bell". GlobeNewswire News Room.
  28. ^ "YPfor210 Christmas in June Honoring Steve Madden". Two Ten Footwear Foundation. Archived from the original on December 31, 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2015.