The Wolf of Wall Street begins in sunny 1987. Jordan Belfort is a Wall Street stockbroker for L.F. Rothschild. His boss, Mark Hanna, introduces him to the “Greed is Good” stockbroker culture of the day rife with easy drugs, easy women, and easy money.
When Black Monday hits in October, Jordan is out of a job. He takes a new position at a brokerage firm out on Long Island that specializes in penny stocks. There, he uses an aggressive sales pitch with investors that returns high commissions, and he makes a ton of money.
Jordan and his neighbor, Donnie Azoff, go into business for themselves; giving the firm the respectable-sounding name of Stratton Oakmont. Jordan then hires some friends, and teaches them the art of hard selling. It’s a scam really…pump them, and then dump them; just like they do with the ladies.
Soon, their success attracts the attention of Forbes Magazine. Their scathing exposé on the firm actually helps Stratton Oakmont more than it hurts them. Ambitious men and women with fortune in their eyes flock to the firm.
As Jordan becomes more and more successful, he slips into a lifestyle of sex, drugs, and debauchery. After he has an affair with a young hottie named Naomi Lapaglia, Jordan’s wife divorces him. So, he marries the young hottie.
Meanwhile, the good-ole SEC and the FBI begin an investigation on Stratton Oakmont. After Jordan illegally makes $22 million on the Steve Madden IPO, the FBI further intensifies their scrutiny of his dealings. Jordan, with the help of an unscrupulous banker named Jean-Jacques Saurel, opens a Swiss bank account in the name of Naomi’s Aunt Emma to hide his money from the law. He picks Emma because she’s a British national, and thus outside of U.S. authority’s reach. He then recruits his wife and Brad Bodnick’s in-laws, who have European passports, to smuggle the money into Switzerland.
Unfortunately, Donnie gets into fight with Brad which gets Brad arrested while Donnie sneaks away, but Brad doesn’t rat his friends out to the police…just yet. It’s at this time that Jordan’s private investigator learns the FBI is wiretapping his phones. Jordan’s father advises him to leave Stratton Oakmont, and play it cool for awhile so his lawyer can negotiate a deal to keep him out of prison. As Jordan goes to quit, he talks himself into staying during his goodbye speech to his workers.
Soon, Aunt Emma dies while Jordan, Donnie, and their families are on vacation in Italy. Jordan rushes off to Switzerland to get his money out of Emma’s account. He has his yacht’s captain to sail to Monaco to skirt border controls, but a storm capsizes the ship along the way. Then, a seagull flies into their rescue plane’s engine. Jordan believes this to be a sign from God, and he looks to sober up and change his lifestyle.
A few years pass before the FBI is able to arrest Jordan. They only manage to do so because his corrupt banker, Saurel, gets himself arrested in Florida on unrelated charges. Once there, he rats Jordan out to the Feds.
By now, the evidence against Jordan is overwhelming, so he agrees to rat out his colleagues in exchange for leniency. Naomi abandons Jordan, and files for divorce; wanting full custody of their children. This leads to an argument where he tries to drive away with his daughter, but he crashes his car into a pillar first while pulling out of the garage.
The next morning, the FBI has Jordan wear a wire to work, but he’s kind enough to slip a note of warning to Donnie. Donnie keeps this note, and later rats Jordan out to the FBI over it. They arrest Jordan for breaching his side of the deal. The FBI then raids Stratton Oakmont, and shuts it down.
Jordan still manages to receive a reduced sentence for his testimony even though he breached the terms of his deal with the Feds. He serves three years in a minimum security prison, and once he gets out, he earns a pretty good living off of sales technique seminars, his autobiography, and a little film based on that life story.