Remember the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street starring Leonardo DiCaprio? You know, the one about former stockbroker Jordan Belfort and his controversial firm Stratton Oakmont? No? Well, maybe this will jog your memory.
Who can forget that rousing speech?
If you didn’t already know, The Wolf Of Street was based on the real-life events that led Belfort to become one of the richest and most infamous crooks on Wall Street. He swindled millions of dollars from clients hoping to get rich from the stock market and obviously made a lot of money doing it. But just how rich did he get?
Born in New York on July 9th, 1962, Jordan Ross Belfort was all about making money, even as a teenager. He didn’t start out as a rich kid with a boatload of money or as someone from the slums who casually fell into the stock market profession. Instead, he was an ordinary teen with an extraordinary business sense. According to the site Celebrity Net Worth, between high school and college, Belfort⏤with the help of a close friend⏤was able to make $20,000 selling Italian ice, an Italian frozen dessert. Then, after dropping out of college, he started a meat-selling business that grew from a small one-person operation to a legitimate business with several employees that sold 5,000 pounds of meat a week.
This is basically where the film The Wolf Of Wall Street begins. At the age of 25, Belfort became a stockbroker trainee at the firm LF Rothschild only to be laid off after the Black Monday stock market crash of 1987. He went on to work for several more financial firms before deciding to start his own firm, Stratton Oakmont, in 1989.
According to Wealthy Genius, Stratton Oakmont became infamous for its business of selling penny stocks on the “pink sheet” of companies outside the regulated Nasdaq and New York Stock Exchange. Belfort basically had his brokers push worthless stocks to middle-class buyers and then add a 50% fee to the stock’s price. He also had them inflate stock prices of companies he secretly owned major shares of, only to turn around and sell his shares to make a profit. Sadly, Belfort’s clients ended up losing everything once the company no longer had shares to trade.
Those tactics helped Belfort build his firm to house hundreds of employees and grow Stratton Oakmont into a hundred-million-dollar brokerage company. By the time Stratton Oakmont was at its peak, Belfort had earned himself a cool $200 million. Unfortunately, having such a large fortune came with a heavy consequence.
Stratton Oakmont became the target of a securities fraud investigation that found Belfort guilty of laundering some of his vast fortunes into offshore accounts. By 1996, the FBI kicked in the doors of Stratton Oakmont, and by the end of the year, the company was forced to shut down. Belfort was convicted of security fraud and money laundering. After spending two years in jail, he was ordered to pay back $110 million of his $200 million fortune to the 1,500 clients he swindled.
Years later, Belfort is still paying off that debt. After his release from prison, he decided to tour as a motivational speaker and now earns between $30,000 to $80,000 per speaking engagement. He’s even written two books⏤The Wolf of Street and Catching The Wolf of Wall Street⏤which have been published in 40 countries and earned him a decent amount of success, especially after The Wolf of Wall Street was adapted into the infamous film starring DiCaprio. Belfort is even currently enjoying success on his podcast “Wolf’s Den,” which is considered one of his most successful endeavors in recent years. Normally, this would have the makings of a great success story, but Belfort still owes $100 million.
What Is Belfort’s Net Worth?
Given that he owes $100 million and his current endeavors don’t make enough for him to break even, Belfort’s net worth is actually in the red. Both Wealthy Genius and Celebrity Net Worth have reported that Belfort’s current net worth is a negative balance of $100 million, which means he actually owes instead of owns that amount.
At the rate he’s going, Belfort, who is about to turn 60, may have a hard time paying off his debt in the near future. In fact, with a debt of $100 million, his crimes may haunt him and his family for a long time, even after his death.