The Wolf of Wall Street Agrees to Fork Over Some of His Book Royalties
(Bloomberg) -- It’s a start: After a decade as a deadbeat who failed to repay victims of his boiler room fraud, Jordan Belfort agreed to fork over almost $19,500 in royalties from a sequel to his "Wolf of Wall Street" memoir, which was turned into a movie.
But, it’s a long way from the $97 million prosecutors say he still owes.
Belfort led a penny-stock scam on Long Island and was glorified on screen in 2013 by Leonardo DiCaprio. After being convicted of fraud, Belfort was ordered in 2003 to pay $110.4 million in restitution and other penalties. He turned over about $12.8 million at that time, mainly from property he relinquished, according to prosecutors. From 2007 to 2009 he repaid victims about $700,000 and nothing in 2010, prosecutors said.
Now, he agreed to turn over his share of royalties from the "Way of the Wolf," published by Simon & Schuster Inc.’s Gallery Books in 2017, after initially arguing the U.S. was entitled only to a fraction of the money.
Belfort and his lawyer, Sharon Cohen Levin, said half of the royalties were owed to his co-author and that an entity called JB Global Inc. which received Belfort’s share of the royalties was exempt from garnishment.
The government said it has a right to garnish a portion of Belfort’s earnings and argued the entity was a "sham.” The U.S. said Belfort’s co-author should provide evidence why she was entitled to get "tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars" in royalty payments.
Levin wrote to to the judge Sunday saying Belfort and his co-author agreed to turn over the royalty payment to the government and are trying "to negotiate a resolution" regarding future payments from the publisher. Cohen Levin didn’t return a call seeking comment about her letter.
U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly in Brooklyn, New York, in May ordered Belfort to show up in court this week to answer prosecutors’ questions about why he hasn’t paid his debts. Belfort was a no-show last time because he was in Lithuania at a speaking engagement.
"Sorry to interrupt his busy schedule," Donnelly said at the May hearing. "He’s going to have to come here so we can get a grip on what’s going on."
John Marzulli, a spokesman for the Brooklyn U.S. Attorney’s Office declined to comment.
The case is U.S. v. Belfort, 98-cr-0859, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).
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