Jordan Belfort Case Study

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Jordan Belfort: Money Outweighing Punishment The stock market is an enigma to the average individual, as they cannot fathom or predict what the stock market will do. Due to this lack of knowledge, investors typically rely on a knowledgeable individual who inspires the confidence that they can turn their investments into a profit. This trust allowed Jordan Belfort to convince individuals to buy inferior stocks with the belief that they were going to make a fortune, all while he became wealthy instead. Jordan Belfort, the self-titled “Wolf of Wall Street”, at the helm of Stratton Oakmont was investigated and subsequently indicted with twenty-two counts of securities fraud, stock manipulation, money laundering and obstruction of justice. He went to prison at the age of 36 for defrauding an estimated 100 million dollars from investors through his company (Belfort, 2009). Analyzing his history of offences, how individual and environmental factors influenced his decision-making, and why he desisted from crime following his prison sentence can be explained through rational choice theory. Jordan Belfort’s exploitation of individuals and the financial system was for solely the purpose of financial gain. Rational choice theory dictates that individuals are of rational minds and will calculate the costs and benefits and choose actions where the benefits outweigh the punishment for committing it. This theory explains why Belfort turned to criminal actions, such as market manipulation, fraud, and money laundering over normative actions to achieve his goal of wealth when his greed outweighed any fear of punishment from the justice system. Rational choice theory, developed by Ronald Clarke and Derek Cornish in 1985, is a revival of Cesare Becca... ... middle of paper ... ... desisted from crime as his calculations of probability of punishment offsets any potential rewards and thus deterrence is created. Jordan Belfort throughout his entire life subverted the law for his own financial gain, always seeing money as worth the risk in the decisions he made. His decisions were made by a rational mind of his own volition, considering the long-term possibilities and how to stay ahead of his pursuers. He constructed an environment with Stratton Oakmont to enable this behaviour, as well as corrupt those around him to follow in his footsteps. This lead to his repeated violations of laws to generate wealth when his fear of punishment was lower than that of the rewards he could potentially gain. It was only when he was confronted with the reality of his punishment and experienced it directly that he was finally deterred from his criminal behaviour.

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