In 1987, Jordan Belfort procures a job as a Wall Street stockbroker for L.F Rothschild. Jordan soon finds his career terminated following Black Monday and takes a job at a boiler room brokerage on Long Island that specializes in penny stocks.
Jordan befriends his neighbor, Donnie Azoff, and the two found their own company. The basic method of the firm is a pump and dump scam. To cloak this, Jordan gives the firm the respectable-sounding name of Stratton Oakmont. He has an affair with a woman named Naomi Lapaglia. When his wife finds out, Jordan divorces her and marries Naomi. Meanwhile, the SEC and the FBI begin investigating Stratton Oakmont. Jordan illegally makes $22 million in three hours upon securing the IPO of Steve Madden. To hide his money, Jordan opens a Swiss bank account with corrupt banker Jean-Jacques Saurel in the name of Naomi's Aunt Emma, who is a British national and thus outside the reach of American authorities. He uses the wife and in-laws of his friend Brad Bodnick, who have European passports, to smuggle the cash into Switzerland.
Jordan, Donnie, and their wives are on a yacht trip to Italy when they learn that Aunt Emma has died of a heart attack. Jordan decides to travel to Switzerland immediately to settle the bank account. To bypass border controls, he orders his yacht captain to sail to Monaco, but the ship is capsized in a storm. After their rescue, the plane sent to take them to Geneva is destroyed when a seagull flies into the engine.
Two years later, the FBI arrests Jordan because an acquaintance informed the FBI on Jordan. Since the evidence against him is overwhelming, Jordan agrees to gather evidence on his colleagues in exchange for leniency. Now fed up with Jordan's lifestyle, Naomi tells Jordan she is divorcing him and wants full custody of their children. Jordan loses his temper and tries to run off with his daughter Skylar in his car, but he ends up crashing in the driveway. Donnie rats out on Jordan to the FBI and The FBI raids and shuts down Stratton Oakmont. Despite his breach, Jordan receives a reduced sentence for his testimony and serves three years in a minimum security prison. After his release, Jordan makes a living hosting seminars on sales technique and Naomi escapes jail sentence despite being a willing accomplice.Naomi eventually marries another CEO.