Chief among the many concerns voiced over The Wolf Of Wall Street was that its real-life subject, Jordan Belfort, might be benefiting from Martin Scorsese’s film, in a way besides making him a hero to avaricious assholes everywhere. Fortunately, Belfort recently reassured everyone that this was absolutely not the case: “For the record, I am not turning over 50% of the profits of the books and the movie, which was what the government had wanted me to do,” Belfort wrote on his Facebook page a couple of weeks ago. “Instead, I insisted on turning over 100% of the profits of both books and the movie, which is to say, I am not making a single dime on any of this. This should amount to countless millions of dollars and hopefully be more than enough to pay back anyone who is still out there.”
Belfort’s statement was, naturally, well received by his supporters: “Shit happens and you have made amends people need to be able to move on,” commented one, of that time Belmont’s years of fraud stole millions from investors and laid the groundwork for a nation’s economic collapse, then Belfort made amends by serving 22 months in minimum-security prison and befriending Tommy Chong, and wrote a book celebrating his exploits that was turned into a hit movie where he was played by Leonardo DiCaprio. Indeed, shit happens.
However, it seems not everyone is able to move on. Suggesting that the assurances of a man who made his fortune by lying about money may not be telling the truth regarding the profits from a movie about that, the U.S. Justice Department is currently investigating whether Belfort maybe, perhaps, isn’t being entirely straightforward here. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the government claims that, in 2011, Belfort paid a mere $21,000 toward his victims who are, most definitely, still out there—this despite earning nearly $1 million from selling the rights to his memoir. That pittance is part of the $11.6 million total Belfort has handed over since 2003, when he was first ordered to pay back $110.4 million to those he’d swindled. Unfortunately for Belfort, the government doesn’t count his many, non-monetary contributions of super-fun party scenes involving ludes and naked girls—which are, of course, priceless.
Meanwhile, Belfort’s lawyers argue that he’s no longer obligated to pay back that 50 percent of his annual gross income the courts first demanded 10 years ago, because Belfort’s “supervised release has been terminated.” Also meanwhile, Robert Nardoza, a U.S. attorney spokesman, says that Belfort is currently living “in Australia and using that loophole to avoid paying”—as in Australia, all outstanding sentences are upheld by a kangaroo court. (“We hereby order that Mr. Belfort not be allowed any delicious, delicious carrots,” ruled the kangaroo judge.)
Anyway, the argument seems likely to continue—especially given that Belfort is now also shopping a reality series, in which he will offer “uplifting” advice to others in need of “redemption.” Presumably the most important pieces of advice would be to make sure that your life of unapologetic greed, deception, and narcissism is as entertaining as possible.