Few figures in the finance world can claim as much influence as Jordan Belfort over the reputation of Wall Street as a greedy, heartless place. In 1999, Belfort pleaded guilty to numerous crimes related to stock market manipulation and the running of a long-term scam involving penny stocks. He has since used his Wall Street experience to become a well-known speaker and author.
- Jordan Belfort, a former Wall Street trader and the founder of financial firm Stratton Oakmont, was found guilty of crimes related to stock market manipulation.
- Belfort pleaded guilty to fraud and was sentenced to four years in prison, but served 22 months before he was released.
- Belfort wrote two memoirs: The Wolf of Wall Street (which was turned into a blockbuster film) and Way of the Wolf.
- Belfort has been accused of profiting off the story of his white-collar crimes.
- He runs corporate sales training sessions and investment mastermind courses, and continues profiting from his life experiences.
Early Life and Career
Jordan Belfort (born 1962) grew up in Queens, N.Y., and showed an understanding of the business world from an early age. According to his memoir The Wolf of Wall Street, Belfort worked with a friend to sell Italian water ice desserts out of inexpensive styrofoam coolers at a beach near his childhood home. In the summer months between high school and college, Belfort and his partner earned a whopping $20,000.1
Belfort studied biology at American University with plans to enroll in dental school, using the money he had saved from his earlier venture. However, when the dean of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry warned students on the first day that dentistry was not a path to financial success, Belfort dropped out.
One of Belfort’s earliest ventures after his short stint in dental school was as a door-to-door salesperson in Long Island. He said the venture was successful, and that he was able to grow the business to the point where he had a team of several workers capable of moving more than two tons of product (in this case, meat and seafood) each week. By the time he reached age 25, the business failed, and Jordan filed for bankruptcy. It was only then that he became interested in work as a stockbroker, a position he entered with the help of a family friend.
Is “The Wolf of Wall Street” a True Story?
The movie “The Wolf of Wall Street” is based on the memoir of the same name by Jordan Belfort. It details his time as a Wall Street stockbroker, including his evential conviction for financial fraud that stole millions of dollars from investors.
What Happened to the Real Wolf of Wall Street?
Jordan Belfort was convicted of fraud and sentences of four years in prison, though he ultimately served only 22 months. After prison, he went on to become a best-selling author, as well as a public speaker. He also runs workshops on the topic of investing and corporate sales. The name The Wolf of Wall Street came from his memoir of the same name.
Is the Wolf of Wall Street Still Alive?
Jordan Belfort, who is sometimes known as the Wolf of Wall Street due to his best-selling memoir of the same name, is alive and continuing to work. As of 2023, multiple news outlets report his net worth at over $110 million.7
The Bottom Line
Jordan Belfort is a former Wall Street trader who was found guilty of crimes related to stock market manipulation and fraud. He served 22 months of a four-year prison sentence. He has since gone on to write multiple successful memoirs.
Aside from his memoirs and the successful film adaptation of The Wolf of Wall Street, Belfort has reinvented himself as a motivational speaker. His speaking ranges from questions of ethics and motivation in the financial world to practical demonstrations of sales skills. He also runs corporate sales training and investing mastermind courses.
Belfort has also been the subject of further fraud investigations. In 2014, media outlets uncovered ties between Belfort and an Australian employee training company that may have participated in a scam involving government funding.8 However, no charges were brought in the matter, and Belfort continues to operate a successful training and speaking business.
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