The Wolf of Wall Street chronicles the life of a stockbroker named Jordan Belfort. Having worked at two brokerage firms, Jordan eventually sets out on his own by starting his own firm together with his friend Donnie. Though the firm that he forms is basically engaged in pumping and dumping scheme, he gives the firm the respectable-sounding name of Stratton Oakmont.
But the more successful Jordan gets, the more debauched his life gets. Jordanâ€™s wife eventually divorces him after he gets into an affair with Naomi who he marries shortly afterwards. Around this time the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission start investigations on Jordanâ€™s firm.
To conceal some money he has made illegitimately after securing a Steve Madden Initial Public Offering, Jordan uses the help of an unscrupulous banker to open a bank account in Switzerland. He opens this Swiss account in the name of Emma, his wifeâ€™s aunt since she is a UK citizen and therefore immune from investigations by US authorities. To get the money into Switzerland Jordan uses his palâ€™s in-laws as well as Naomi.
While sailing to Italy, Jordan learns that his wifeâ€™s aunt has succumbed to a heart attack. They decide to change routes in order to get to Switzerland without having to pass through border check points. Their yacht capsizes however and when they are eventually rescued, the rescuing planeâ€™s engine is damaged by a seagull. Jordan considers this a sign from God to change his ways.
With overwhelming evidence against him, Jordan has to make a choice between going to jail or leniency but only if he gathers evidence against colleagues. Will Jordan cooperate?