Every now and then a story comes along that is just too good for Hollywood to pass on. Jordan Belfort has such a story. In the 1990s, he founded the brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont which functioned as a boiler room marketing penny stocks, where he defrauded investors with fraudulent stock sales. During his years as a stock swindler, Belfort developed a partying lifestyle, which included a serious addiction to Quaaludes. Stratton Oakmont employed over 1,000 stock brokers and was involved in stock issues totaling more than $1 billion, including an equity raising for footwear company Steve Madden Ltd. Belfort was indicted in 1998 for securities fraud and money laundering. After cooperating with the FBI, he served 22 months in federal prison for a pump and dump scheme, which resulted in investor losses of approximately $200 million.
The life of Jordan Belfort and the rise and eventual fall of his company has now found its way to the silver screen with the help acclaimed director Martin Scorsese and baby-face actor Leonardo DiCaprio. There are, of course, more actors in the movie – there are even a lion and a monkey, much to the annoyance of PETA – but DiCaprio stars as Belfort himself.