White Collar Crimes in The Wolf of Wall Street

White Collar Crimes in The Wolf of Wall Street




White Collar Crimes in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Overview

The film begins with Jordan Belfort losing his job as a Wall Street broker, because of the events of Black Monday. He then gets himself a job at a boiler room brokerage, where he deals with penny stocks. After sometime, due to his hard work and commissions, he is able to amass some wealth. With time, he founds a company called Stratton Oakmont, with his neighbor, Donnie. He divorces his wife and marries his mistress, Naomi, with whom they have a daughter. As he gains more wealth, his lifestyle changes and is involved in a life full of drugs and prostitutes. His core business is fraud and he is able to smuggle money into his Swiss accounts with the help of Donnie’s wife and his in-laws. Eventually, the law catches up with him and he is sent to prison for 36 months.


After a careful analysis of the movie, it becomes apparent that one of the causes of white-collar crimes, and any other crimes, can be explained a sociological theory such as the strain theory. The theory states that structures in the society may pressure and influence a person to commit crime. The societal processes affect how an individual determines what his or her needs are (Barak, 2009). Therefore, to achieve them he goes out of his way, even through committing crimes. In this case, Jordan was indeed under pressure to gain wealth and live up to the societal expectations, which is typical of the situation described in the strain theory.


In order to combat white-collar crimes, it is imperative that the government puts in place stringent laws governing corporate governance. There have been a few laws enacted such as the Sarbanes- Oxley Act, which aim to regulate corporate governance. In addition to this, it is important to sensitize people on how to detect white-collar crimes such as fraud, and report them to the authorities.



Barak, G. (2009). Criminology. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

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