Beyond "The Wolf of Wall Street": People Who Profited From Crimes

In bocca al lupo

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- Jordan Belfort was indicted in 1998 on securities fraud and money laundering charges after leading a pump-and-dump penny stock operation that bilked investors out of some $200 million. Today, Belfort is a self-styled "motivational speaker and high sales performance coach" who reportedly pocketed $940,500 for the movie rights to his memoir The Wolf of Wall Street. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he is currently shopping a reality television series that would follow his efforts "to help others who, like him, have hit rock bottom but still hold out some for redemption." It's an interesting premise, given that federal prosecutors say Belfort has so far paid only $11.6 million of the $110 million in restitution he owes to his victims — including just $368,000 over the last four years. When Belfort was given his sentence — four years in federal prison, of which he served 22 months — the judge remarked, "Mr. Belfort's going to earn a lot of money I have no doubt." That prediction proved true in spite of an American legal tradition of trying to prevent offenders from profiting off their crimes.