When you have a movie made about you, you are automatically not an average person, one way or another. When that movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie and is directed by Martin Scorsese, and makes $406 million at the box office, that doubles your credibility. Jordan Belfort, the infamous “Wolf of Wall Street,” is such a person.
His financial exploits began in 1987 at the age of 25 and continued until his conviction for stock-market manipulation and penny stock fraud in 1999. After serving 22 months of a 4-year sentence for his crimes, Belfort walked out of prison determined to sell his life story. In 2007, twenty years after his career on Wall Street began, his memoir was published.
The Wolf of Wall Street told a tale of a man determined to win the American dream at any cost to others. It was instantly optioned by Leonardo DiCaprio and Warner Bros., and the film based on it came out six years later with DiCaprio in the starring role. Ripped from the headlines featuring Belfort’s then-recent criminal conviction and its sordid backstory, the 2000 film Boiler Room presented a similar tale of Wall Street sins starring Giovanni Ribisi but was not otherwise connected to Belfort’s story.
Jordan Belfort Net Worth
Jordan Belfort net worth of $115 million is based mostly on speaking and writing. He heavily markets the story of his criminal past. His books are commercially successful and critically praised for their confessional and unsparing tone. The movie based on his early Wall Street activities earned $400 million at the box office. His work as a speaker and author are shared widely by financial institutions to their members, to sharpen and inspire their entrepreneurial spirit.
Belfort’s youthful career as a stockbroker in the pressure-cooker environment of high finance in the 1980s started encouraging him to take risks with regulators from the very beginning. Flying high as one of Wall Street’s youngest multi-millionaires, Belfort began attracting the attention of US government regulators as he amassed a fortune and opened his own firm, Stratton Oakmont, at the age of 28.
In 1996, the hammer came down. President Clinton’s SEC, which had been monitoring him since 1993, brought charges and forced the firm to close, and in 1999 he was indicted on charges of fraud relating to his company’s investment strategies.
Post-Prison Life And Activities
Convicted in 2004, Belfort was released from prison after serving just 22 months of his 4-year sentence. Upon release, he began writing the memoirs that became Wolf of Wall Street, a book both praised and criticized for its sensational portrayal of his life of crime. It was optioned for film less than a month after its September 25, 2007 release date.
The book was a bestseller, published on a $500,000 advance and received a sequel, Catching the Wolf of Wall Street in 2009. Associated with the book, Belfort published a self-help book entitled Way of the Wolf: Become a Master Closer with Straight Line Selling, a guide to the selling method he developed by removing the fraudulent boiler-room tactics from his 1990s sales techniques.
Federal prosecutors disputed his depiction of his criminal life in his books. They claimed that he was not as important as he made himself out to be, particularly exaggerating his emotional importance to his workplaces and that he was aggrandizing his work. “The real Belfort story,” writes Joel M. Cohen, the New York attorney who prosecuted him, “still includes thousands of victims who lost hundreds of millions of dollars that they will never be repaid.”
Jordan's "Straight Line System"
Jordan Belfort markets his “Straight Line System” of selling advice through speaking seminars that run through his business, Global Motivation Inc. As of pre-pandemic, he spent three out of four weekends every month doing speaking engagements, with a main theme of the importance of business ethics and learning from mistakes. Belfort calls out his belief in the 1990s that his ethical lapses were justified because everyone else was doing it, too, and that he was justified in skirting the rules of financial regulators for the same reasons. His per-engagement speaking fees range around $50,000.
Belfort’s financial figures are somewhat unclear because they may or may not include the value of moneys that he has promised to pay back but never has to victims of his criminal schemes in the 1980s and 1990s.
Restitution to Victims
Despite claiming multiple times over the 15 years since he was released from prison that he would fully repay the victims of his crime, Jordan Belfort has only paid $10.4 million of the hundreds of millions he swindled. This amount is the amount that was seized by the SEC in a federal asset forfeiture and claimed for the purpose of paying some victims back. Belfort repeatedly claimed in the early 2010s that he would pay victims back out of his proceeds from the film version of The Wolf of Wall Street, but like many films, the creative accounting of Wolf meant that it never showed a net profit despite making over $400 million at the box office.
NFTs and Crypto
In the late 2010s and early 2020s, Belfort was an early skeptic of cryptocurrency, referring to them as “mass delusion.” He since changed his mind on both cryptocurrency and NFT, investing in several cryptocurrency startups. It is not clear how the cryptocurrency meltdown that began in mid-2021 has affected his financial health, but his net worth estimates in the range of $115 million seem to indicate that they have not crippled his finances, at very least.
Despite the fact that Jordan Belfort recommends charity in his motivational talks, evidence of his own charitable giving is relatively scant. He raised $422,000 in charitable donation NFTs, suggesting that the NFTs he worked on would make each NFT a unique drop, increasing its initial value. Prior to his prison convictions, Belfort had a charitable foundation in his name. However, this foundation has not been recently active and has no information, positive or negative, on Charity Navigator.
His Total Net Worth
According to caknowledge.com, Jordan Belfort net worth of $115 million is on an annual income of $18 million. He pays $3 million in taxes annually and likely has a bank balance around $21 million. His primary form of personal income is motivational speaking. His net worth peaked in 1998 at greater than $400 million, two years after his firm Stratton Oakmont was forced to closed by the NASD and the SEC. Belfort’s net worth in 2022 is the highest it has been since 2016.
Belfort was the final owner of the yacht Nadine, originally owned by Coco Chanel as Mathilde. The yacht sank at sea in Italy in a raging storm. Despite his restitution agreement as part of his guilty plea, Belfort has never paid a significant amount of restitution to his victims and is likely still in violation of that agreement. Belfort was invested in NFTs and Cryptocurrency before the cryptocurrency crash of 2022 destroyed much of the value of cryptocurrencies as investment instruments, the amount which that investment failure impacted his fortune remains unknown.
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Written by Allen Lee
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