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29/03/2018 The Wolf Of Wall Street : Myth vs Truth – Words For Reveries

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The Wolf Of Wall Street : Myth vs Truth


JUNE 30, 2016

GAURAVKRISHNAN

The movie “The Wolf Of Wall Street” has managed to convince people  around the
world that everybody on wall street is as crazy as the characters depicted in it. Of
course it couldn’t be farther from the truth. The drug infused antics in the movie are
such an exaggeration that it seems very unbelievable, at least it was to me. But I did a
little digging and was quite bemused to nd out a lot of the incidents that took place
in the movie were actually true!

Being a stock broker on Mumbai’s Dalal Street for the past 2 years of my career have
opened my eyes to the world of nancial services and stock broking in particular. Let
me tell you, it’s very very hard. It’s not at all as easy as depicted in the movie, they
didn’t show you how he built his client base which must have taken ages! You have to
constantly increase your client base and you HAVE to make them trade every single
day. I service 45 clients which I have acquired myself over the past one and a half years
and let me tell you it’s a daunting task to build a stock broking business from scratch.
Those 45 came after meeting about a 150.

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It’s a long term game in this business and I know if I just persevere without giving up
and continue meeting more prospects every day I will increase my customer base
slowly and steadily over the years to come. Every broker who started in the 90s is a
millionaire today. That’s my aim!

Now back to the movie. Apart from my friends from college calling me “The Wolf Of
Wadala” which is the place I stay in Bombay and where my rst of ce was( I ingnore
those jibes) here are some of the incidents that took place in the movie and I break
down the fact from ction.

Did Jordan Belfort really meet his future business partner in a restaurant?

Jordan (left), with his then wife


Nadine, was introduced to Danny Porush (right) via Danny’s then wife Nancy (center
right).

No. In the movie, Donnie Azoff (Jonah Hill) rst encounters Jordan Belfort (Leonardo
DiCaprio) at a diner after noticing Belfort’s Jaguar in the parking lot. He tells Belfort
that if he show’s him a pay stub with $72,000 on it, he will quit his job immediately and

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start working for him. In reality, the real Donnie Azoff or Danny Porush, was
introduced to Jordan Belfort by his wife, who had met Belfort on the bus during her
daily commute to the city. She says that Belfort always gave up his seat for her. She
thought he was nice and quickly realized that he lived in their apartment building. She
later introduced her husband to him, guring that Jordan might be able to help Danny
with his struggling private ambulette business. After just one conversation with
Jordan, Danny came home and told his wife that he was going to take the Series 7
exam to get his stockbroker’s license. The rest is history.

What was the name of Belfort’s brokerage house?

The Wolf of Wall Street true story con rms like in the movie, that Stratton Oakmont
was the name of the real Jordan Belfort’s Long Island, New York brokerage house.
Belfort and co-founder Danny Porush (played by Jonah Hill) chose the name because it
sounded prestigious. The rm would later be accused of manipulating the IPOs of at
least 34 companies, including Steve Madden Ltd. (their biggest deal), Dualstar
Technologies, Paramount Financial, D.V.I. Financial, M. H. Meyerson & Co., Czech
Industries, M.V.S.I. Technology, Questron Technologies, and Etel Communications.

What did Jordan Belfort do that was illegal?

Belfort’s Stratton Oakmont brokerage rm ran a classic “pump and dump” operation.
Belfort and several of his executives would buy up a particular company’s stock and
then have an army of brokers (following a script he had prepared) sell it to
unsuspecting investors. This would cause the stock to rise, pretty much guaranteeing
Belfort and his associates a substantial pro t. Soon, the stock would fall back to reality,
with the investors bearing a signi cant loss.

How many employees worked for Jordan Belfort’s brokerage rm?

At its peak in the 1990s, Stratton Oakmont, Belfort’s rm that he co-founded with
Danny Porush, employed more than 1,000 brokers.

Did Jordan Belfort really host an in-of ce dwarf-tossing competition?

No. “We never abused [or threw] the midgets in the of ce; we were friendly to them,”
Danny Porush (the real Donnie Azoff) says. “There was no physical abuse.” Porush does
admit that the rm hired little people to attend at least one party.

Was Jordan Belfort really known as the “wolf” of Wall Street?

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No, at least not according to the former co-founder and president of the Stratton
Oakmont brokerage rm, Danny Porush (portrayed by Jonah Hill in the movie). The
real Porush says that he is not aware of anyone at the rm calling Jordan the “wolf.”
Porush says that it’s just one of a number of exaggerations and inventions in both
Belfort’s book and the movie.

Is Matthew McConaughey’s character, Mark Hanna, based on a real person?

Yes. In exploring The Wolf of Wall Street true story, I learned that Jordan Belfort claims
to have met Matthew McConaughey’s character’s real-life counterpart, Mark Hanna, in
1987 when he was working at the old-money trading rm of L.F. Rothschild. His new
acquaintance was a senior broker at the rm and introduced Belfort to the excess and
that Belfort would later make a daily staple at Stratton Oakmont. Like in the movie, the
real Mark Hanna behind McConaughey’s character told Belfort that the key to success
was masturbation, cocaine and hookers, in addition to making your customers
reinvest their winnings so you can collect the commissions.

Did Jordan Belfort really abuse cocaine and other drugs?

Yes.  In researching The Wolf of Wall Street true story, it quickly became clear that
Belfort used drugs heavily in real life too. In his memoir, he states that at times he had
enough “running through my circulatory system to sedate Guatemala.”

Did Belfort really stand in front of his employees and give riling speeches with a
microphone?

Yes. Belfort was known to stir his troops into action by belting out words of motivation
through a microphone. However, his speeches were often lled with more self-
adulation than DiCaprio’s speeches in the movie.

Did a female employee really let them shave her head for $10,000 to pay for breast
implants?

The real Jordan Belfort claims this is true in his memoir. The female employee let them
shave off her blonde hair for $10,000, which she used to pay for D-cup breast implants.
Co-founder Danny Porush also says that the shaving took place, ” the worst we ever
did was shave somebody’s head and then pay ’em ten grand for it,” says Porush.

Was Jordan Belfort’s Quaalude dealer in the movie, Brad Bodnick (Jon Bernthal),
based on a real person?

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Yes. The character in the movie, Brad Bodnick, who has a goatee and is portrayed by
The Walking Dead‘s Jon Bernthal, is based on Jordan Belfort’s real-life Quaalude
supplier, Todd Garret. In his memoir, the real Jordan Belfort claims that Garret sold
him approximately 10,000 Quaaludes.
Was there ever a chimpanzee in the of ce?

No. Ofcourse fucking not !

Did he really almost crash his helicopter in his yard?

Yes. In his memoir, Jordan Belfort writes that he was ying his private helicopter while
high on Quaaludes and nearly crashed it in his yard.

Did Belfort and his colleagues really have drug-addled nights and sexcapades with
prostitutes on a near daily basis?

Though the movie and Belfort’s memoir might seem like gross exaggerations of the
truth, depicting heavy drug use and sexcapades in the of ce during trading hours,
they’re not exaggerations at all says the F.B.I. agent who nally took Belfort into
custody, “I tracked this guy for ten years, and everything he wrote is true.”

Was Belfort really arrested for crashing his Lamborghini while high on expired
Quaaludes?

Yes, but according to Belfort the car wasn’t a Lamborghini like in the movie, it was a
Mercedes. He was so high in a drug daze that he couldn’t remember causing several
different accidents as he tried to make his way home.

Did Danny Porush really swallow a gold sh?

Yes. According to the real Donnie Azoff, whose actual name is Danny Porush, the
scene where Jonah Hill’s character eats a gold sh is based on a true story. “I said to
one of the brokers, ‘If you don’t do more business, I’m gonna eat your gold sh!'”
Porush recalls. “So I did.”

Was footwear mogul Steve Madden really involved in Belfort’s scheme?

Yes. As shown in the movie, Steve Madden had been a childhood friend of Belfort’s
partner Danny Porush (renamed Donnie Azoff in the movie and portrayed by actor
Jonah Hill). Their fondness for drugs and alcohol reunited the two of them. During the
initial public offering of his footwear company, Steve Madden Ltd., Madden acquired a

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large number of shares of his company, which were actually being controlled by
Belfort and his rm, Stratton Oakmont. Once shares became available to the public,
Stratton Oakmont got down to the business of selling them to unsuspecting suckers.
Billing Madden’s company as the hottest issue on Wall Street, Belfort’s brokers in turn
drove up the price. Eventually, Steve Madden was to sell off his shares when the hype
was at its peak, just before the stock began its inevitable decline. Similar to what is
seen in the movie, Belfort still maintains that Steve Madden tried to steal his Steve
Madden shares from him. However, Jordan Belfort did make approximately $23 million
in two hours as part of the deal with Steve Madden, who would later be charged as an
accomplice to Belfort’s scheme.

For his part, Steve Madden was sentenced to 41 months in prison and was forced to
resign as CEO of Steve Madden Ltd. He also resigned from the company’s board of
directors. However, he did not leave the company entirely. He kept his foot (or shoe) in
the door by giving himself the title of creative consultant, for which he was well-
compensated even while he was in prison.

Did Jordan Belfort really name his yacht after his wife?

Yes. The real-life yacht was named “The Nadine” after Belfort’s wife, who, like in the
movie, he affectionately referred to as “The Duchess of Bay Ridge.” In the movie, the
yacht bears the name “Naomi” after the character portrayed by Margot Robbie
(Belfort’s wife’s name was changed for the lm).

Did Belfort’s yacht really sink in a Mediterranean storm?

Yes. In real life, Belfort’s 167-foot yacht, which was originally owned by Coco Chanel,
sunk off the coast of Italy when Belfort, who was high on drugs at the time, insisted
that the captain take the boat through a storm. As he states in the interview, his
helicopter didn’t fall off the boat during the storm like in the movie. Instead, they had
to push the helicopter off of the top deck of the boat to make room for the rescue
chopper to drop down an Italian Navy commando.

How long did FBI agent Gregory Coleman spend tracking Jordan Belfort and his
rm?

FBI agent Gregory Coleman, renamed Patrick Denham for the lm and portrayed by
actor Kyle Chandler, made tracking Belfort and his rm, Stratton Oakmont, a top
priority for six years.

Did Jordan really strike his wife?

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Yes. According to his memoir, he actually kicked his wife Nadine down the stairs while
he was holding his daughter. She landed on her right side with “tremendous force.”
Shameful.

Did Belfort really endanger his 3-year-old daughter’s life by crashing his car
through the garage door?

Yes. In real life, he put his daughter Chandler in the front seat of the car without a seat
belt on, before crashing it through the garage door and then driving full speed into a
six-foot-high limestone pillar at the edge of the driveway. Like in the movie, he was
high at the time.

What was Jordan Belfort’s punishment?

When he was nally arrested in 1998 for money laundering and securities fraud,
Jordan Belfort was sentenced to four years in prison.

What inspired Jordan Belfort to write his memoir?

This is hilarious! You won’t believe it but Tommy Chong (one half of “Cheech and
Chong”) was Jordan Belfort’s cellmate in prison. After laughing at some of Belfort’s
stories from his days running the rm, Chong encouraged him to write a book.

Cheers!

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