For Jordan Belfort -the Long Island penny-stock boiler-room operator of “Wolf of Wall Street” infamy – trouble does not seem to stray too far from his life on ‘Main Street’ as prosecutors say, he isn’t just a con, but also a deadbeat, and they want him to pay up.
For those who’ve forgotten, Bloomberg reports that at his sentencing in 2003, Belfort was ordered to pay $110.4 million in restitution and other penalties.
Belfort was released from prison in April 2008. He was convicted of defrauding 1,513 investors out of more than $200 million and sentenced to four years behind bars. He was also ordered to pay 50 percent of his gross income to victims after he was freed.
Belfort’s brash, dishonest behavior at Stratton Oakmont was glorified on screen by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie based on his memoir.. and made the ‘wolf’ about $100 million, helping to start Belfort’s second career as a motivational speaker.
There’s just one problem with all this new-found wealth…
The government says he still owes about $97 million. U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly in Brooklyn, New York scheduled a hearing Wednesday on the matter.
The argument is likely to focus on technical legal and accounting issues. Prosecutors say in court papers that Belfort paid about $700,000 to victims between 2007 to 2009, and nothing in 2010; he has also paid $12.8 million, mainly from property he relinquished at sentencing, they say.
Belfort and his lawyer, Sharon Cohen Levin, dispute the government’s numbers and what he should pay.
In 2014, Belfort told Inside Edition that he planned on paying back about $100 million to more than 1,500 victims that year.
“I’m actually doing a US tour that I announced and I’m giving a hundred percent of the profits to pay back the victims,” he told Inside Edition’s Chief Investigative Correspondent Lisa Guerrero.
However, it’s three years later and he still owes the same amount of money despite living a life of luxury, as The Daily Mail reports, these days he travels the world making big bucks as a lecturer, spilling the secrets of how you can ‘become rich’ too.
“Once everyone is paid back, believe me I will feel a lot better,” he said at the time.
“My goal is to give more than I get, that’s a sustainable form of success.”
“I want to vomit when I look at these pictures,” retired dentist Alfred Vitt and Belfort victim said when he was shown photos of Belfort’s lavish vacations by Inside Edition.
“He’s a liar and a damn crook.”
We tend to agree with Mr. Vitt as at the current rate Belfort is paying – between $4,000 and $5,000 per month – it would take him more than 1,600 years to pay back all his victims.