"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. 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....So, again, for the record: I am not making any royalties off the film or the books, and I am totally content with that," the real life Jordan Belfort claimed at the start of the new year in a Facebook post, addressing concerns that he was profiting off "The Wolf Of Wall Street." Is one of the financial world's slickest operators of all time, once again, twisting the truth?
THR (via FilmDrunk) reveals that the Justice Department are investigating the very claims Belfort is making, and it looks like something in his story doesn't add up (shocking). Here's a telling passage from their report that certainly raises some eyebrows:
According to the government’s documents, Red Granite Productions purchased film rights to The Wolf of Wall Street for $1.045 million. Of that amount, Belfort received $940,500. In addition, Belfort got $125,000 when Scorsese began shooting the film and another $125,000 when the film hit theaters last month.
Hmm... But it should be noted, this battle between the law and Belfort has been going on for a while now. The former financial whiz was first dealt a restraining order before the book was even set to hit store shelves, until a deal was struck where he promised to give 50% of any profits (calculated after his agent's fee of 15%) towards restitution. But it seems the accounting is getting a bit hazy, as in 2011 when Belfort sold the movie rights, he somehow only managed to cough up $21,000 toward the payments he was supposed to make.
So, what does this all mean? Mostly, employment for lawyers. Belfort's attorney is claiming his client doesn't need to make any more payments, while the former Wolf of Wall Street is living in Australia and taking advantage of some financial loopholes. There's no word if a sassy Frenchman who looks like Jean Dujardin is helping him out.
But the lesson here is: if you owe the government money, it's probably not a good idea to go on social media and proclaim you aren't making anything off one of the most popular movies in theaters right now that's based on your book. It might just catch someone's attention.
In related news: shoe guy Steve Madden tells Page Six he wasn't really too hot on Jake Hoffman's portrayal of him in the film saying, “The guy was too nerdy.” And his feelings on Belfort, who testified against him, with Madden winding up serving a longer prison term than his former financial pal? “He ratted me out to save himself, but it was a long time ago, and I try not to live in the past. You’ve got to move on, and I have,” Madden said. And with a company now worth $2.3 billion, that probably makes it a lot easier to forget about it.