Jordan Belfort is known to some as the Wolf of Wall Street, having made a controversial fortune in the nineties. But how exactly did he make his money?
Jordan Belfort made an incredible amount of money through stock-market manipulation and fraud throughout the nineties. Since the restitution for his crimes, he has also made money through selling his story, writing books, and motivational speaking.
Read on to learn more about Jordan Belfort’s remarkable story.
The Wolf of Wall Street
The term ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ is most well known as a result of the successful 2013 Leonardo DiCaprio biopic of the same name. This film was actually based on the activities of real-life stockbroker, Jordan Belfort. You can see a trailer for this movie on YouTube.
After dabbling in several ventures as a teenager and young man, Belfort set his sights on making as much money as possible. He had previously worked as an ice cream salesman, and a meat and seafood salesman. Ultimately, he started his first real endeavour in the latter industry. On Long Island, New York, Belfort ran a fledgling business that sold around 5,000 of meat every week.
However, this venture failed, and Belfort was forced to file for bankruptcy at just twenty five years of age. It wouldn’t be long before Belfort had another plan in mind, one that would lead him to infamy. His next act would bring him both an incredible amount of money, but also his downfall.
In 1989, Belfort founded an organization called Stratton Oakmont. This was originally a franchise of a small time broker-dealer in New York, but Belfort would buy out the entire firm not long after. Within a very short period of time, Stratton Oakmont would become the largest over-the-counter trading firm in the United States.
By 1996, Stratton Oakmont would be turning around $3 billion in revenue and have over 1300 employees. Further, the company was personally making Belfort millions upon millions of dollars. However, all was not as it seemed.
Stratton Oakmont’s highest traded through exceedingly dubious means, participating in ‘pump-and-dump’ schemes and microcap stock fraud. A portion of the company and its founders were manipulating stocks and their prices across the country to personally prosper.
While this venture made Jordan Belfort an exorbitant amount of money, it would eventually catch up to him. In April 1996, Stratton Oakmont was barred from trading for a year, and in December, they were ordered to cease trading permanently.
In 1999, Belfort was indicted, and served just under two years in prison. He was also ordered to pay back the $110 million he’d stolen from various investors and stock buyers. It was this period of his life that Belfort cemented in history in a book.
Do As I Say, Not As I Do
After his prison sentence and restitution was complete, Belfort wrote two books. One told the story of his activities, the other his capture and incarceration. He made a small fortune from the publishing of these books, and made a further million dollars from the sale of the rights to his movie.
As of 2020, Jordan Belfort is reportedly worth $100 million. He was working primarily as a motivational speaker, touring the world giving seminars. In these talks, he’d give industry insights, teach people how to trade, sell, and be entrepreneurs, and ultimately tell his story.
This was by no means a poor venture, as a speaking fee for Belfort tops out (as of 2020) at around $75,000. Further, his seminar fee was upwards of $80,000. As he has embarked on numerous tours around the world, it’s easy to see how he maintains a $100 million net worth.
While Jordan Belfort might enjoy legitimacy today and has served his punishment for his crimes, it’s hard to wonder if he’s truly remorseful for his actions. You can see Jordan Belfort regularly on Twitter, encouraging people to develop themselves. However, he still proudly boasts his Wolf moniker, and often flaunts his activities from the nineties.