REUTERS/ Mario Anzuoni
Bloomberg Businessweek's Sheelah Kolhatkar has a great profile of Jordan Belfort, whose "Wolf of Wall Street" book has been turned into the highly-anticipated Leonardo DiCaprio movie of the same name (due out on Christmas day).
Belfort went from a millionaire pump-and-dump schemer taking "drugged-out helicopter rides" and "hooker shopping with buttoned-up Swiss bankers" to federal prison.
The entire story is worth a read, but perhaps the funniest nugget from the story is that Belfort's cellmate when he arrived at prison in 2004 was Tommy Chong. Chong, Belfort, and other celebrity inmates partied it up like the famous scene from Goodfellas. From Businessweek:
Incredibly, his cellmate was Tommy Chong, of Cheech and Chong, who was serving a nine-month sentence for selling drug paraphernalia—bongs in particular. As Chong describes it, the Taft Federal Correctional Institution would beat many Manhattan hotels for comfort. He says Belfort’s arrival “was like Elvis coming to jail” and that his roommate spent his days playing tennis and backgammon, cleverly hiring other inmates to do his chores for him. “He would inspire salespeople to basically go rob people”
“We were part of the elite gang,” Chong says, adding that for a stretch they ate meals “Goodfellas-style” with another famous inmate, the PGA Tour caddie Eric Larson, who was serving time related to drug charges. Larson “worked in the garden, and he grew these fresh, delicious vegetables, and he used to cook them,” Chong says. “We had these beautiful vegetarian, healthy meals every night, and Jordan was part of the gang. We had a nice little hierarchy there, intelligent famous guys hanging out together.”
Now Belfort hits the speaking circuit, netting around $30,000 a speech. Of course, as Kolhatkar reports, Belfort is still struggling to pay restitution.
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