Daniel Mark Porush (born February 1957, Lawrence, New York, U.S.) is an American entrepreneur and former stock broker who is known for his supervision of a "pump and dump" stock fraud scheme in the 1990s. In 1999, as the president of Stratton Oakmont brokerage house, Porush was convicted of securities fraud and money laundering, for which he served 39 months in prison. The character of Donnie Azoff in the popular 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street was loosely based on Porush.
Early life and education
In the late 1980s, Porush helped Jordan Belfort found Stratton Oakmont, a Long Island, New York "over-the-counter" (OTC) brokerage house in which Belfort was chairman and Porush was president. Stratton Oakmont specialized in selling "penny stocks" and underwriting initial public offerings for small companies, including for Steve Madden (a childhood friend of Porush), Master Glazier's Karate International Inc, Dualstar Technologies, Select Media Communications, United Leisure Corporation and Questron Technology.
Beginning in 1989, Stratton Oakmont became the subject of numerous disciplinary actions by the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It was determined that Stratton Oakmont was involved in pump and dump stock fraud that involved artificially inflating the price of stocks through false and misleading positive statements, in order to sell cheaply purchased stock at a higher price. Once the operators of the scheme "dumped" their overvalued shares, the price fell and investors lost their money. In December 1996, the NASD permanently expelled Stratton Oakmont and barred Porush as well as fined him $250,000. The NASD rejected Porush's claim that he was only "a figurehead," citing him as the salesperson with the largest individual allocation. In their decision to bar Porush and his head trader, Steven P. Sanders, the NASD wrote that "[they] continue to deny responsibility and exhibit no remorse for [their] misconduct, and, but for the bar, would continue to pose an on-going risk to the investing public."
Following a federal indictment, Porush and Belfort pled guilty to 10 counts of securities fraud and money laundering in 1999. In an exchange for reduced sentences, Porush and Belfort cooperated with the federal investigations of their colleagues. Porush was sentenced to four years in prison, and was released on probation in 2004 after serving 39 months.
In 2013, the story of Stratton Oakmont was made into Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street based upon Jordan Belfort's 2007 memoir of the same title. In the film Jonah Hill portrays a character named Donnie Azoff, loosely based on Porush as described in Belfort's book. Porush has stated that many of the book's incidents are fictional. The character's name was changed during movie development after Porush threatened to sue Paramount Pictures if he was depicted.
Following his release from prison in 2004, Porush became involved with a Boca Raton, Florida-based medical supply and medical equipment company which, according to Forbes magazine, has operated under the names Med-Care Diabetic & Medical Supplies, Christian Diabetics and the Christian Healthcare Network. The Med-Care company was the subject of a congressional hearing on Medicare fraud in April 2013. In May 2014, Porush's involvement with Med-Care was cited as reason for a portion of the federal "Stop Scams Act of 2014" which would require Medicare providers to disclose their ownership interests. According to Med-Care's attorney, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services had been informed and had previously reviewed Porush's role with the company. In 2014, Porush and five other personnel of the Med-Care company were named in a whistleblower lawsuit alleging fraudulent Medicare claims, but the case was dismissed in federal court for lack of any specific proof. On January 14, 2015, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents raided the Med-Care offices in Boca Raton. Dozens of agents from the FBI, Florida fraud department, and local police closed entrances to the building that houses Med-Care, removing boxes of files. An FBI spokesman said the agency is conducting "law enforcement activity in the vicinity."
Porush married his first wife Nancy in 1986 and they had three children together. They divorced in 2000.
- Sharon R. King, "Two Former Stratton Officials Indicted on Fraud Charges", New York Times, 4 September 1998
- "From a prison cell to driving Rolls-Royces and hanging out with movie stars: How the REAL Wolves of Wall Street are on top of the world after being released from prison over $200 million fraud". Daily Mail. 2013-04-15.
- Suebsaeng, Asawin (December 10, 2013). "Dwarf-Tossing, 3-Way With Teen Employee Never Happened, Says Real "Wolf of Wall Street" Exec". Mother Jones. Retrieved 17 January 2014.
- Pfefferman, Naomi (January 6, 2014). "Jonah Hill’s not-so-nice Jewish guy". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
- Goldberg, Jennifer (February 2014). "Oscars are light on Jewish nominees". Jewish News. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
- Johanna Berkman (February 26, 2001). "Steve Madden: Crisis of the Sole". New York Magazine. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
After five years at Boston University, he left without getting a degree and bounced from job to job, working for, and starting up, a variety of small businesses, including an ambulance company called SureRide Ambulette.
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- Condon, Nancy A. (December 5, 1996). "NASD Regulation Expels Stratton Oakmont; Principals Also Barred". Press Release. Financial Industry Regulation Authority. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "Order Making Findings and Imposing Remedial Sanctions". Administrative Proceeding File 3-9491. Securities and Exchange Commission. August 18, 1998. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "Questron Technology Inc.". SEC Info. US SEC EDGAR database. November 15, 1995. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- Eaton, Leslie (December 6, 1996). "The N.A.S.D. expels Stratton Oakmont, ordering repayment". New York Times. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
- "Pump and Dump Schemes". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. March 12, 2001.
- Wyatt, Edward (September 24, 1999). "Stratton Oakmont Executives Admit Stock Manipulation". New York Times. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
- Baynes, Terry; Michael Pell (February 21, 2014). "Health fraud lawsuit echoes 'Wolf of Wall Street'". New York: Reuters. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- Nehme, Farran Smith (December 21, 2013). "Good Film, Extremely Bad Wolf". Barron's.
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- Crowley, Kieran (2013-04-15). "With film release approaching, 'Wolves of Wall Street' scammers are back on top". New York Post. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
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- Green, Laura (May 25, 2014). "Legislation aims to curb Medicare scams". West Palm Beach Post (Washington). Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- "All-out press to combat Medicare fraud". Media Release. United States Senator Bill Nelson. May 13, 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- Green, Laura (June 26, 2014). "Judge throws out fraud claim against Med-care". West Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
- ARUNA VISWANATHA AND ZACHARY FAGENSON (January 14, 2015). "FBI raids Florida firm with 'Wolf of Wall Street' link: witnesses". Reuters. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- Bess Levin (January 14, 2015). "Guy Whose Life Of Crime Was Memorialized In Leonardo DiCaprio Flick Not Yet Done With Life Of Crime". Dealbreaker.com. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
- Lewak, Doree (December 9, 2013). "I was the wife of a Wall Street ‘Wolf’". New York Post. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
- Globetrotting, Virtual (August 28, 2008). "Danny Porush's House in Boca Raton, FL (Bing Maps) Virtual Globetrotting". VirtualGlobetrotting. Retrieved 14 January 2015.