In some bizarre twist of fate, it sounds like Jordan Belfort — the real life guy played by Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf Of Wall Street – might actually make some money off the movie.
No matter how you feel about whether Martin Scorcese is parodying absurd wealth or glorifying it, I think we’re all pretty clear on the fact that it’s exactly that — absurd. It’s definitely funny to watch Jonah Hill chomping away with his veneers, and Leo crawling along the ground on quaaludes, and all the hapless misadventures of these larger-than-life characters, but at the end of the day, these things really did happen, and there’s nothing funny about Jordan defrauding all those people.
He absolutely did it, and the only reason he’s not in jail right now is that he gave testimony on his co-conspirators and agreed to compensate his victims, to the tune of $110.4 million. But even though there are an estimated 1,513 defrauded people out there struggling to get their lives back, Jordan has paid only $11.6 million of the restitution he was ordered to pay in 2003. Which gets even shadier when you realize that he’s living in a mansion right off the water in California, and making almost a million dollars off the movie depicting his defrauding of investors.
Yup! Since Jordan wrote the book that the movie is based off of, he’s entitled to 90% of the $1.045 million that Red Granite Production paid for the rights. He claims that he’s not making royalties off the film, but he’s also not making any payments to his victims, so…the United States government might have to get in there and grab some of that money, to distribute it themselves. Y’know, because they’re better at spending it.
“Justice department officials believe at least 50% of rights payments, totalling more than $1m (£610,000), received by Belfort could be seized. [ . . . ] Belfort is said to be fighting attempts to pay further compensation because he believes his supervised release has terminated.”
Wow, this guy. He’s just such a class act, and I don’t know why we all keep getting surprised by it.