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Jordan Belfort, The Wolf of Wall Street

Jordon Ross Belfort is a motivational speaker, an American author and a former stockbroker at the ‘Wall Street’. He was born in New York and possessed a natural talent of a good salesman at a very young age. He started out as a stockbroker and churned out millions through illegal ways in the nineties through ‘Stratton Oakmont’.

An investment company owned by him. Upon the claws of law-enforcement agencies tightening around him, Jordan pleaded guilty for cheating several investors and other crimes related to manipulation of the stock market and for running a boiler room as a part of the ‘penny stock scam’.

He spent about 22 months in prison and as part of an agreement, gave testimony against several subordinates and partners in his fraud schemes. After that, He published the memoir The Wolf of Wall Street in 2007, which adapted into a film with the same name and released in 2013.

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.

Who is Jordan Belfort?

Jordan Belfort was born on 9th July 1962 in New York City to Max and Leah Belfort. He was raised in a modest apartment in Bayside, Queens. Both his parents were accountants by profession were of Jewish origin.

He 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.

Jordan Belfort had a natural talent as a salesman at an early age, operating a meat and seafood business in the 1980s. After that company went bust, Belfort began selling stocks in 1987. He was running his own investment operation, Stratton Oakmont, by 1989. The company made millions illegally, defrauding its investors.

The Securities Exchange Commission began efforts to stop the company’s errant ways in 1992. In 1999, Belfort pleaded guilty to securities fraud and money laundering. He sentenced in 2003 to four years in prison but only served 22 months. Belfort published his first memoir, The Wolf of Wall Street, in 2008. The following year, he released Catching the Wolf of Wall Street.


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 salesman 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 age 25, the business failed, and Jordan filed for bankruptcy. It was only then that he became interested in stockbroking. A position he entered with the help of a family friend.

Jordan Belfort,The Wolf of Wall Street

With his partner, Danny Porush, Jordan Belfort raked in cash using a “pump and dump” scheme. His brokers pushed stocks onto their unsuspecting clients, which helped inflate the stocks’ prices. Then the company would sell off its own holdings in these stocks at a great profit.

Awash with cash, Belfort lived the high life. He spent lavishly, buying a mansion, sports cars, and other expensive toys. He also developed a serious drug habit, becoming especially fond of Quaaludes.

Belfort was involved in several accidents due to his drug use, including crashing his helicopter into his own yard and sinking his yacht—which once belonged to designer Coco Chanel—while under the influence. His addiction also contributed to the break-up of his second marriage.

Belfort encouraged reckless behavior in his employees, as well. Substance abuse, sex, and horseplay were the norm at Stratton Oakmont’s Long Island, New York, offices. An assistant at the firm was once paid $5,000 to allow some of the company’s traders to shave her head.

The employees were also urged to live by the motto, “Don’t hang up until the customer buys or dies.” Their hard-sell tactics paid off in the short term. As Belfort told the New York Post, “It’s easier to get rich quick when you don’t follow the rules.”

The trouble with the Law

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission sought to end Stratton Oakmont’s shady stock operation in 1992, claiming that the company had defrauded investors and manipulated stock prices. Two years later, Belfort found himself out of the brokerage business.

Stratton Oakmont had reached a settlement with the SEC, which included a lifelong ban from working in the securities industry for Belfort and a fine for the company.

More legal woes followed for Belfort and his company. The National Association of Securities Dealers ejected Stratton Oakmont from its association in 1996. The company was ordered to be liquidated to pay off its numerous fines and settlements the following year.

In 1999, Belfort pleaded guilty to securities fraud and money laundering. He cooperated with authorities in an effort to shorten his prison sentence.

In 2003, Belfort sentenced to four years in prison and personally fined $110 million. He served 22 months in jail, where he developed an interest in writing. Comedian Tommy Chong, one of Belfort’s cellmates during this time, encouraged the former stockbroker to write about his experiences.

Life after Prison

Following his release from jail and as part of his restitution agreement, Belfort required to pay 50% of his income to his defrauded former investors through 2009.

Federal prosecutors filed a complaint in 2013, alleging that Belfort had not paid the appropriate amount of his income in the previous years. Ultimately, he reached a separate deal with federal authorities to complete the restitution payments.

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.

Belfort emphasizes the mistakes that he made during his time at Stratton Oakmont. Indicating he was under the influence of drug addiction at the time and that he deeply regrets having lost money for his clients through scams.

By the way, we have gathered the top 7 quotes by Jordan Belfort. I suggest you read them for your Entrepreneurship way.

Maybe it’s not good to follow Belfort. He went through the illegal ways to conquer the world he dreamed of. But he lost it all and then gain it again.

what would you do? would you choose the illegal ways to get to your dream? Comment it below.