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Who is Jordan Belfort?

Who is Jordan Belfort?


Good day everybody,

Welcome to CryptoGod-1's blog on all things crypto. As part of a new series I am going to be looking at some prominent names in the financial, crypto, and general world who made a name for themselves through interesting means, many of which ended up behind bars for their actions. In this instalment I will be focusing on Jordan Belfort, also known as the 'Wolf of Wall Street.' 

 

 

Jordan Belfort

Born on the 9th of July 1962 in Queens, New York, Jordan Belfort was the son of an accountant and grew up in a modest apartment in Queens. He was a natural born salesman, with Belfort working along with a childhood friend, Elliot Loewenstern, to sell Italian water ice desserts out of inexpensive styrofoam coolers at a beach near his childhood home. He did this during the summer months between high school and college, and Belfort and his partner earned themselves a handsome return of around $20,000.

Thanks to his success Belfort was able to go to university, where he went to study biology with further plans to enrol in dental school once he had graduated. However, the dean of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry warned the students on the first day that dentistry was not a path to financial success and that made Belfort decide to drop out. According to Belfort, the dean had told the students:

 

“The golden age of dentistry is over. If you’re here to make a lot of money, you’re in the wrong place.”

 

One of earliest ventures after his short stint in dental school was being a door-to-door salesman in Long Island. He was successful with this venture, growing his business to a level that required a team of several workers to move more than two tons of product, which was meat and seafood. The business failed and by 25 Belfort was forced to file for bankruptcy.

Belfort had to look for different opportunities to make use of his talents and thanks to a family friend he became interested in stockbroking.

 

 

Stockbroker Career

Belfort found a job working in a brokerage firm, learning the ins and outs of being a stockbroker. This was at L.F. Rothschild, where he worked as a trainee stockbroker. However while Belfort was gaining invaluable experience working in the industry, this was all to come crashing down in 1987. The infamous Black Monday stock market crash, which happened on October the 19th, resulted in Belfort being laid off as companies tried to restructure following their loses. The event was the largest ever one day decline, which saw the DJIA fall a staggering 508 points or 22.6%.

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Undeterred by his latest career bump, Belfort decided his best option was to open his own trading company. He did just that, founding Stratton Oakmont in 1987. The business was a franchise of Stratton Securities but Belfort later went on to buy out the original founder. Belfort decided his best option was to recruit several of his friends along with his father to fill the high-level positions within the firm as Belfort believed he could trust and control them.

They operated as a boiler room. a business which works as an outbound call centre selling questionable investments over the phone. Their primary function was the penny stocks market, where they made use of 'pump and dump' stock sales techniques. This was done by inflating the stock price through false and misleading statements, and then selling the cheaply purchased stock at a high price to investors. This basically led to the stock prices becoming inflated, and at that point Belfort and his team would 'dump' their stocks, leading to a collapse in the price and investors losing their money.

 

 

Stratton Oakmont

With the success of the company, word began to spread of the easy money making scheme and young wannabe stockbrokers were desperate to get in on the action. Plenty applied for jobs at Stratton Oakmont, and the firm was famous for their motto of:

 

“Don’t hang up until the client buys or dies.”

 

The company was making money hand over foot, and this lead to a cult like culture within the firm of partying, drug use, prostitutes, and gambling. The success of the company throughout the 1990's allowed Belfort to establish two other brokerage firms - Monroe Parker Securities and Biltimore Securities. Through founding these firms Belfort had even more ability to control stock prices and earn himself huge revenues and profits. 

Oakmont Stratton was also responsible for the initial public offering of 35 companies, including Steve Madden Shoes. Apparently Steve Madden Shoes made Belfort a cool $23 million in less than three minutes. When he was 34 years of age Belfort had made a fortune reported to be in the hundreds of millions of dollars. The wealth Belfort found himself in amplified his high living lifestyle, resulting in partying, globetrotting, and an addiction to both cocaine and quaaludes.

Despite his drug use the firm continued to grow and Belfort decided that it was in his best interest to hide his illegal profits from the government. He did so by opening a Swiss bank account, and his friends and family members would end up strapping money to their backs in order to smuggle the money from the U.S. on flights into Switzerland. Along with his illegal smuggling, Belfort also managed to sink a yacht in the Mediterranean and also crashed a helicopter.

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Crime and Prison

The techniques used by Belfort were a number of different fraudulent strategies and over time the SEC became suspicious of the firm. They opened an investigation into Stratton Oakmont's trading practices and in 1994 a civil securities fraud case was brought against them by the SEC. Stratton Oakmont paid $2.5 million as part of the settlement and also banned Belfort from running any firms. As a result, he sold his share of Stratton Oakmont.

Soon after he became aware that the FBI were investigating him along with the SEC, however the FBI was looking into him over suspicion of money laundering. It then came to Belfort's attention that many within his inner circle were working against him and giving information to the FBI. His drug use increased and police had to attend his home after he reportedly kicked his wife down the stairs and then drove the car through the garage with his children inside the vehicle. He was arrested, sent to rehab, and after a few weeks returned home.

In December 1996, the NASD expelled Stratton Oakmont, putting it out of business for good having been investigating the company over a number of years. The company was ordered to be liquidated to pay off its numerous fines and settlements the following year. As for Belfort, he was arrested and indicted for money laundering and securities fraud by the FBI in 1999 along with his associate Danny Porush.

The company Stratton Oakmont had stolen from over 1,500 individual investors, taking around $200 million in the process. Belfort meanwhile decided to cooperate with the authorities and inform on his colleagues, and in doing so got a reduced sentence. He had been sentenced in 2003 to four years behind bars and a personal fine of $110.4 million. His term was reduced to just under two years, and he served a total of 22 months in prison.

While in prison Belfort was cellmates with the famous comedian Tommy Chong, and he encouraged Belfort to write about his experiences. Belfort wrote his memoir, "The Wolf of Wall Street." When Belfort was released in 2006 he released the book two years later. A year after that he released the sequel "Catching the Wolf of Wall Street." 

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Life After Prison

After being released from Prison Belfort released his two main books as mentioned above, with the 'Wolf of Wall Street' being adapted into a film in 2013 by Martin Scorsese. It starred Leonardo DiCaprio as Belfort and was a big screen hit. 

The Wolf of Wall Street book was named after a nickname Belfort had gotten while working in stockbrokerage, although he is not the only one to have gotten this nickname during his career. The book / film focuses on his meteoric rise and explosive crash in the financial world. The second book, the Catching the Wolf of Wall Street, details his life after his arrest.

Since his fall and imprisonment, Belfort now operates his own company which provides sales training and markets 'Straight Line' training programs which aim at building wealth. He also does motivational speaking and claims he has cleaned up his act these days. In an interview he claimed he is 'a wolf who has become more of a benevolent character' and that it was greed which became his biggest downfall.

Of the personal fine he was given as part of his sentencing, Belfort has reportedly paid around $14 million of the $110 million fine. Belfort also has a YouTube channel known as The Wolf of Wall Street, where he posts monthly episodes of a podcast, “The Wolf’s Den.” In this podcast he shares his business ventures, motivational speaking events, life events, and new partnerships.

 

 

Net Worth

A very interesting fact of Belfort's life is his actual net worth. Back in 1998 it was reported to be around $400 million. While a lot was seized and he has been forced to pay some money in those he defrauded, Belfort is still a very wealthy man. Between motivational speaking, book sales, movie rights, as well as various real estate, stocks, and crypto investments, Belfort is reported to have around $134 million in March 2023.

Some of the noteworthy incomes and assets include:

$9 million a year - motivational speaking

$27 million - luxury home in New York

$4 million - luxury cars

$32 million - cash reserves

$15 million - investment portfolio

$50 million - movie rights

$178 thousand - CryptoPunk #6033 NFT which Belfort bought for 102ETH on Opensea (although at the time of purchase it was around $430 thousand)

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There you have it, the amazing and astounding story of Jordan Belfort, the Wolf of Wall Street. While he fly high before crashing hard, he has still managed to assure himself of a good life thanks to his investment and understand of the markets. How legitimate his money is remains questionable, but he has certainly made an interesting life for himself.

Have a great day.

Peace. CryptoGod-1.

 

You can find the other post's in this series here:

Who Is Ross Ulbricht?

Who is Jordan Belfort?

Who is Bernie Madoff?

Who is Low Taek Jho?

 

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cryptogod-1
cryptogod-1

Writer, designer, creator, and life enthusiast. I love to read and write and enjoy sharing my passion for crypto, sports, literature and everything and anything I can enjoy in life.


CryptoGod-1 : Crypto & Blockchain
CryptoGod-1 : Crypto & Blockchain

Enthusiast here looking to share my ideas, thoughts, analysis, and experience when it comes to all things crypto

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