The Wolf of Wall Street

No wonder people have a dim view of the investment management business. This book is set to be published in a month – “The Wolf of Wall Street“. It is written by Jordan Belfort, a broker that sold worthless stocks to thousands of unsuspecting investors at Stratton Oakmont brokerage in the 1990s. Investors lost at least $250 million, and in 2003, he was sentenced in Brooklyn federal court to four years in prison (he served only two) for fraud and money laundering. Belfort is supposed to pay about $110 million in restitution to Stratton Oakmont victims (of which he has paid less than one percent).

People lose money all the time to fraud, and that is not what bothers me most. From the book description:

By day he made thousands of dollars a minute. By night he spent it as fast as he could, on drugs, sex, and international globe-trotting. From the binge that sank a 170-foot motor yacht, crashed a Gulfstream jet, and ran up a $700,000 hotel tab, to the wife and kids who waited for him at home, and the fast-talking, hard-partying young stockbrokers who called him king and did his bidding, here, in his own inimitable words, is the story of the ill-fated genius they called…

In the 1990s Jordan Belfort, former kingpin of the notorious investment firm Stratton Oakmont, became one of the most infamous names in American finance: a brilliant, conniving stock-chopper who led his merry mob on a wild ride out of the canyons of Wall Street and into a massive office on Long Island. Now, in this astounding and hilarious tell-all autobiography, Belfort narrates a story of greed, power, and excess no one could invent.

Reputedly the prototype for the film Boiler Room, Stratton Oakmont turned microcap investing into a wickedly lucrative game as Belfort’s hyped-up, coked-out brokers browbeat clients into stock buys that were guaranteed to earn obscene profits–for the house. But an insatiable appetite for debauchery, questionable tactics, and a fateful partnership with a breakout shoe designer named Steve Madden would land Belfort on both sides of the law and into a harrowing darkness all his own.

From the stormy relationship Belfort shared with his model-wife as they ran a madcap household that included two young children, a full-time staff of twenty-two, a pair of bodyguards, and hidden cameras everywhere—even as the SEC and FBI zeroed in on them—to the unbridled hedonism of his office life, here is the extraordinary story of an ordinary guy who went from hustling Italian ices at sixteen to making hundreds of millions. Until it all came crashing down…

Hilarious tell all auto-biography? Really Random House? I am guessing the thousands of people that got fleeced by this crook wouldn’t find it so HILARIOUS. . .

I, for one, will not be buying this book. A couple of quotes from the linked article are below from people that lost real money from this crook:

People responsible for Stratton Oakmont’s frauds “are just plain crooks, that’s all there is to it,” said Steven Orton, an Alpharetta, Ga., insurance agent who lost $68,000 earmarked for his children’s education in one of the brokerage’s stock manipulations. He was awarded $68,500 in arbitration, but Stratton went bankrupt before he could collect.

“Hollywood’s … going to [make] money from whatever the source is, regardless whether it’s the proper thing to do or not,” Orton said. “Hollywood doesn’t have a conscience … it’ll be a good movie, I’m sure.”

William Moison, who lost $117,000 in a Stratton scheme and settled for a smaller amount, called Belfort’s book deal and movie prospects “a travesty of our system.” Moison, a California resident, said there should be a rule that people who have bilked the public couldn’t write books or “do anything at all to take advantage of the situation” in the future. Otherwise, “they’re doing it again,” he said.