The Wolf of Wall Street starring Leonardo DiCaprio hit theaters almost four years ago giving us an insight into the crazy life of Jordan Belfort. The movie was Martin Scorsese’s interpretation of the memoir written by Belfort himself and which, you guessed it, was named “The Wolf of Wall Street”.
One of the most important things that is taken into consideration during the development of a movie is to provide people with a good and engaging story which might require certain facts to be omitted or changed. Martin Scorsese’s directorial prowess shows in this film and it even manages to make “The Hangover” look like a small high school party.
While most of the three-hour movie might have seemed like a crazy exaggeration of events that happened, the fact is that it doesn’t even come close to capturing Belfort’s actual life. The true facts about Jordan Belfort and his money-making scheme along with his cronies goes much deeper than what was portrayed to the audience. Now twenty years after Belfort scammed hundreds of people involving millions of dollars, we have compiled a list of 15 facts that you did not know about the real wolf of Wall Street.
15. He Was Never Called “The Wolf”
While it is a pretty cool nickname and what makes it even cooler is the fact that a movie was named after it, Jordan Belfort was never called “wolf” by anyone, ever. That’s right, the only person to call Belfort by this nickname was Jordan Belfort himself when he wrote his memoir in 2007. Former president of Stratton-Oakmont, Danny Proush, who was played by Jonah Hill in the movie, was quoted to have said that in eight years of working with Belfort, he had never heard anyone call him the Wolf or anything like that. But it clearly is very catchy and helped market the movie to the success it is now.
14. Being A Broker Was Never Part Of His Plans
Being a stock broker is something that not a lot of kids aspire to be. In fact, if you were to go out right now and interview a bunch of kids about their career plans, almost no one will say stock broker. It makes sense because the stock market is essentially a bunch of adults yelling numbers at computer screens all day. Jordan Belfort was focused on becoming a dentist in his younger years. He managed to save almost $20,000 selling Italian ice on the beach (which is quite an amazing feat) to pay for dentistry school. The story, however, goes that on the first day of his freshman year, the Dean took him aside and told him that dentistry was not a golden profession anymore and he shouldn’t expect to become rich. This was enough for Belfort to drop out and switch career paths.
13. He Never Worked On Actual Wall Street
We’re pretty sure you never guessed this one, well, because the title of both the memoir and the movie contains the word “Wall Street” in it. That, however, was never true because Jordan Belfort never worked on actual Wall Street. His company called Stratton-Oakmont was in fact based in Lake Success, Long Island which is an hour’s drive away from where Wall Street is. This made perfect sense because despite raking in millions with his company, he didn’t have big bucks in the beginning to rent an office space in one of the most expensive parts of New York City. Belfort had trained his staff to tell investors that they were calling from Wall Street to make the deals seem legit and enticing.
12. His Victims Were Never Paid Back
Jordan Belfort had reportedly made off with $110 million of investor money. Now If you remember, the scam that made him all of this money didn’t target rich trust-fund kids, in fact, it was your average blue-collar Americans who were trying to make a living working nine to five jobs. It can be very appealing when some hot shot with big words calls you up from Wall Street with an investment opportunity that could change your life, even though deep down you know that you have a better chance of winning the Powerball than making a profit on penny stocks. After Belfort’s prosecution, the court ordered him to reimburse the money back to his victims but nearly two decades later, he has only paid $10 million of the $110 million he owes.
11. He Once Made $12 Million In 3 Minutes
Say what you need to about Jordan Belfort but one thing is for sure, he knew how to pull off one of the biggest scams in the history of Wall Street and he knew how to do it well. At the peak of his success with Stratton-Oakmont, he was making well over $50 million in a single year. One of the biggest financial runs that he made in his career was when he pulled in $12 million in only three minutes. That’s right, in the time that it would take you to heat two hot pockets, Jordan Belfort made more money than most of us will ever see in our entire lifetime.
10. He Made Love On A Pile Of Cash
Let’s be honest here, most of us would end up doing something like this if given the opportunity and the amount of money Jordan Belfort was making in his prime. According to his confession, he laid down $3 million cash in $10,000 stacks of notes and then proceeded to make some sweet love to his then wife, Nadine Macaluso. We’re pretty sure this gave Belfort a lifetime of bragging rights but making love atop crispy bills, while it sounds great, actually completely sucks. Margot Robbie who played Belfort’s wife and had to reenact the scene had a word of caution for anyone attempting such an act.” I got a million paper cuts on my back from all that money! It’s not as glamorous as it sounds,” she shared. “If anyone is ever planning on having sex on top of a pile of cash: don’t.”
9. His Drug Of Choice Were Quaaludes
There is a lot of emphasis on drugs in the film and it is a fact that Jordan Belfort absolutely loved them. His daily intake consisted of an unholy combination of morphine, marijuana, cocaine, Xanax, alcohol and his all-time favourites, the Quaaludes. They are a powerful sedative which was made illegal in the mid-1980’s, also now famous as the pill Bill Cosby would use to drug unsuspecting women. Belfort consumed these for the absolute fun and joy they brought apparently, making him lose it completely on occasions. It seems like when you become addicted to the high of making gross amounts of money, you’ll do anything, like inhaling all kinds of drugs, to keep the high from going away.
8. He Made His Secretary Buy Quaaludes For Him
We’re all aware of how much Jordan Belfort loved his drugs, especially the Quaaludes. During a trip to London, he had exhausted his stash of these magic pills and was in desperate need of a hit. While this may sound crazy, he ended up calling his secretary back in New York City at 4 A.M. to help him out with the little drug problem he was having. She immediately arranged a package of Quaaludes and sent them out to London via a Concorde which was the fastest commercial jet airliner at the time and cost a fortune to use. This goes on to show the number of crazy things that can be achieved with money and power.
7. He Actually Sank His Yacht
One of the most memorable scenes in the film was the sinking of Belfort’s yacht which was named after his wife Nadine. This 167-foot vessel had previously been the host to numerous wild office parties. In 1996, Belfort decided to travel across the extremely rough waters of the Mediterranean Sea and ordered the captain to power through the storm despite his protests against it. This proved to be a terrible decision because the yacht capsized during the storm and sank off the coast of Italy. No one was injured though since all the passengers and crew were saved by the Italian navy.
6. He Mostly Resorted To Violence
Drugs have a tendency to ruin perfectly good marriages, those and a combination of other bad habits. Nadine Macaluso, formerly Nadine Belfort was the real-life ex-wife of Jordan Belfort who didn’t really have the most amazing marriage in the world. She seemingly broke up Belfort’s “happy” marriage so she could have a better life herself but what she wasn’t aware of was that her husband was a crook who enjoyed drugs and other women. Proof of their toxic and unstable marriage can be derived from one event during which Belfort, while high on drugs had an argument with his wife and proceeded to kick her so hard that she fell down the stairs. He then attempted to leave with his daughter, tossing her into his sports car and literally speeding through the gate before crashing into a pole on his property.
5. Chimps Were Never Brought To Stratton Oakmont
Among the many notable scenes in the film, there is one where Leonardo DiCaprio as Jordan Belfort is walking around the Stratton-Oakmont office while carrying a chimpanzee. This never actually happened and the entire scene was there to serve more as a metaphor and show just how crazy and wild the company was. “There was never a chimpanzee in the office. There were no animals in the office…I would also never abuse an animal in any way”, said Danny Porush (Donny as we know him from the film). Danny did, however, eat a real goldfish to prove a point to one of his employees.
4. He Snitched On Everybody
During the film, we witness a scene when Jordan Belfort wears a wire and he tries his best to avoid implicating his friends by passing them notes about the fact that their conversation is being recorded. While this may seem like an admirable thing to do, the scene was strictly put together for the movie. What happened, in reality, was that Belfort snitched on every single person who was involved in the scheme and in exchange for this he was given a reduced sentence. Hey, when the FBI comes knocking you better be ready to snitch because…well you’re a crook anyway so who cares.
3. His Sentence Wasn’t That Harsh
One would assume that after scamming so many innocent people of their hard-earned money, Jordan Belfort would’ve had a strict and harsh punishment. He was expected to spend 4 years in prison but he ended up reducing his sentence down to a mere 22-months after a plea deal. After spending a short period in solitary, he was moved to a “low-security work camp” which had all the basic necessities a criminal would need, like tennis courts and libraries. In short, it was a small vacation for Belfort which was paid for by your tax dollars. And then of course he had a huge movie made about him starring Leonardo DiCaprio so it doesn’t get more glamorous than that.
2. He Is Currently A Motivational Speaker
Jordan Belfort was known for his invigorating speeches at Stratton-Oakmont to his employees to get them riled up for work and boy was he good at it. He still didn’t lose the charm after getting out of prison and became a motivational speaker. Many people shell out as much as $400 per seat to hear him talk and say some of his famous quotes like, “Sell me this pen,” and “Playing it safe and taking no risks is a shortcut to poverty”. Whether you believe it or not but some of the wise stuff that Belfort bestows upon the groups of would-be businessmen makes sense and it might end up motivating you as well.
1. He Makes More Money Now Than He Ever Did
As we stated earlier in the article that Belfort made almost $110 million during his scam and at one point was even making $49 million a year. Ever since being released from prison, he has made his living as a motivational speaker, author and from the movie rights. He was on his way to make an estimated $100 million in 2014 which is double the amount of what he used to make back in the 90s. Belfort also gets paid somewhere between $30,000 to $80,000 for every motivational speech that he gives, turning it into a hefty sum when you consider the fact that he does about 45 tour dates a year.
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