Jordan Belfort was born in 1982 in the Bronx and started earning money selling Italian ice on the beach.

With these profits, he first decided to study dentistry at the University of Maryland, but when the dean told his class that the golden times for dentists were finished, he changed his mind.

New beginnings and failures

Starting from the bottom as a meat and fish door-to-door salesman in Long Island, he managed to create a little business and manage to even have some employees. Unfortunately, he ended up filling for bankruptcy when he was just 25.

Thanks to a family’s friend, he got hired as an apprentice at L. F. Rothschild. Anyway, but this venture ended up in the worst way: the firm failed right after the 1987 Black Monday.

The climb of the stock market

In 1989, Jordan Belfort started Stratton Oakmont, which was a franchise of Stratton Securities. The company worked on Over-The-Counter markets and their principal business was the “pump and dump”.

Stratton OakmontPump and dump

Belfort and his team bought stocks at a low price and after having pumped their value with false informations, sold them at a much higher price.

Obviously, the people that bought these stocks lost their money. The business that Stratton Oakmont was carrying on was just a fraud.

The good life of Jordan Belfort

The life that Belfort lived during the existence of Stratton Oakmont was all about luxury and vices: he bought lots of properties, luxury cars and, in particular, he was the last owner of “Nadine”, the yacht built for Coco Chanel. In 1996, the Nadine sank off the coast of Sardinia, Italy.

In addition, Belfort was also a drug user and a frequently enjoy the company of prostitutes.

The investigations on Stratton Oakmont

Of course, Belfort’s business could not stay unnoticed forever by the authorities that monitor the stock market. Already in 1989, the company was admonished with some disciplinary actions from the NASD, the National Association of Securities Dealers. These investigations continued for 7 years, until finally the Stratton Oakmont was closed by the authorities.

The caged wolf

After the Stratton Oakmont’s closure, Jordan Belfort was investigated for securities fraud and money laundering and, for this reason, he served 22 months of a four year sentence at the Taft Correctional Institution.

This for the result of an exchange: a plea deal for a shorter imprisonment. As part of the agreement, Belfort was ordered to refund 110 million dollars to the investors.

Life after jail

Once out of the jail, Belfort wrote his biography: “The Wolf of Wall Street”. The book was really successful and the money that he earned from it was used to pay back all the victims. The Scorsese’s movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio takes inspiration from Belfort’s book.

Nowadays Jordan Belfort is a motivational speaker and part of his earnings are still used to settle his debts.