Danny Porush

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Daniel Mark Porush[1] (born February 1957) is an American businessman and former stock broker who ran a "pump and dump" stock fraud scheme in the 1990s. In 1999, he was convicted of securities fraud and money laundering at the Stratton Oakmont brokerage, for which he served 39 months in prison.[2] The character of Donny Azoff portrayed by Jonah Hill in the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street was loosely based on Porush, although Porush described the portrayal as inaccurate.[3] After prison, Porush became involved with a Florida-based medical supply company, Med-Care, which was the subject of federal investigations.

Early life and education[edit]

Danny Porush, the son of a doctor, was raised in a Jewish family in Lawrence, Nassau County, New York.[4][5][6] Porush graduated from Lawrence Woodmere Academy.[4] He attended Dickinson College and Boston University but did not graduate.[4][7] According to New York magazine, Porush then "bounced from job to job, working for, and starting up, a variety of small businesses."[7]

Career[edit]

Stratton Oakmont[edit]

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.[8] Stratton Oakmont specialized in selling "penny stocks" and underwriting initial public offerings for small companies, including for Steve Madden (a childhood friend of Porush),[5] Master Glazier's Karate International Inc., Dualstar Technologies,[9] Select Media Communications,[9] United Leisure Corporation[9] and Questron Technology.[10] In 1994, Porush took over as Chairman and CEO of Stratton after Belfort was barred from the industry.[11]

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).[11][12] 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.[13] In December 1996, the NASD permanently expelled Stratton Oakmont and barred Porush as well as fined him $250,000.[11] The NASD rejected Porush's claim that he was only "a figurehead," citing him as the salesperson with the largest individual allocation.[11] 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."[11]

Following a federal indictment, Porush and Belfort pleaded guilty to 10 counts of securities fraud and money laundering in 1999.[14] In an exchange for reduced sentences, Porush and Belfort cooperated with the federal investigations of their colleagues.[14] Porush was "convicted of insider trading, perjury, conspiracy and money laundering and ordered to pay $200 million in restitution."[15] He was sentenced to four years in prison and Belfort was sentenced to two years. Porush was released on probation in 2004 after serving 39 months.[2][16]

In 2013, the story of Stratton Oakmont as told by Jordan Belfort in his 2007 memoir was made into Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street. In the film, Jonah Hill portrays a character named Donnie Azoff, loosely based on Porush. Porush has stated that many of the movie's incidents are fictional.[3] The character's name was changed during movie development after Porush threatened to sue Paramount Pictures if he was depicted.[17]

Medical supplies[edit]

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.[2][18] The Med-Care company was the subject of a congressional hearing on Medicare fraud in April 2013.[19][20] 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.[20][21] According to Med-Care's attorney, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services had been informed and had previously reviewed, and approved, Porush's role with the company.[20]

In 2014, Porush and five other personnel of the Med-Care company were named in a whistleblower lawsuit alleging fraudulent Medicare claims.[19] The case was initially dismissed in federal court for lack of specific proof.[22] However, the lawsuit was refiled and was accepted for federal court when the initial whistleblower was joined by two more former Med-Care employees alleging the company of defrauding the federal government.[23] The lawsuit alleged that telemarketers, under the guidance of Porush, made unsolicited calls to citizens and used high-pressure sales tactics to push them to accept medical supplies they may not want nor need.[15] On January 14, 2015, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents, Florida fraud department, and local police "raided the offices of Med-Care Diabetic & Medical Supplies" in Boca Raton and removed boxes of files.[24][25] On January 16, 2015, the attorneys for Med-Care filed a motion in court to disqualify the whilstleblowers' attorneys for professional conflict of interest.[15] The case was later dismissed.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

In 1986, Porush married his cousin,[26] Nancy, and they had three children together.[27] They divorced in 2000.

Porush married his second wife, Lisa Krause,[28] with whom he had one child and four step-children. They live in Boca Raton, Florida.[27]

In 2006, Porush was sued by his first wife for failure to pay child support.[2] Porush said that he owned no assets and that everything belonged to his second wife.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sharon R. King, "Two Former Stratton Officials Indicted on Fraud Charges", New York Times, 4 September 1998
  2. ^ a b c d e Maiello, Michael; Stewart, Emily (2008-08-21). "Blood Money". Forbes. Retrieved 2014-01-18.
  3. ^ a b 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.
  4. ^ a b c Harrigan, Susan (2002). "Castles Made of Sand". In Andrew Leckey. The Best Business Stories of the Year: 2002 Edition. Vintage Books. pp. 227–257. ISBN 0-375-72501-6.
  5. ^ a b Pfefferman, Naomi (January 6, 2014). "Jonah Hill's not-so-nice Jewish guy". Jewish Journal. Retrieved 1 March 2014.
  6. ^ Goldberg, Jennifer (February 2014). "Oscars are light on Jewish nominees". Jewish News. Retrieved 15 April 2014.
  7. ^ a b 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.
  8. ^ Wyatt, Edward (September 24, 1999). "Stratton Oakmont Executives Admit Stock Manipulation". New York Times. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  9. ^ a b c "Order Making Findings and Imposing Remedial Sanctions". Administrative Proceeding File 3-9491. Securities and Exchange Commission. August 18, 1998. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  10. ^ "Questron Technology Inc". SEC Info. SEC database. November 15, 1995. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  11. ^ a b c d e Condon, Nancy A. (December 5, 1996). "NASD Regulation Expels Stratton Oakmont; Principals Also Barred". Press Release. Financial Industry Regulation Authority. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  12. ^ Eaton, Leslie (December 6, 1996). "The N.A.S.D. expels Stratton Oakmont, ordering repayment". New York Times. Retrieved 27 October 2014.
  13. ^ "Pump and Dump Schemes". Fast Answers. U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. March 12, 2001. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  14. ^ a b Wyatt, Edward (September 24, 1999). "Stratton Oakmont Executives Admit Stock Manipulation". New York Times. Retrieved October 27, 2014.
  15. ^ a b c Green, Laura (January 18, 2015). "Former employees say Med-Care defrauded government". Palm Beach Post. Washington. Retrieved 22 December 2017. It said the company cold-called seniors and other consumers, pushing them to accept medical equipment they may not have wanted or needed... The complaint alleges telemarketers were guided by Danny Porush, “who is an expert in running high-pressure telemarketing operations.”
  16. ^ Baynes, Terry; Michael Pell (February 21, 2014). "Health fraud lawsuit echoes 'Wolf of Wall Street'". New York: Reuters. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
  17. ^ Nehme, Farran Smith (December 21, 2013). "Good Film, Extremely Bad Wolf". Barron's.
  18. ^ 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.
  19. ^ a b Baynes, Terry (February 21, 2014). "Health fraud lawsuit echoes 'Wolf of Wall Street'". Reuters. Retrieved 2 September 2014.
  20. ^ a b c Green, Laura (May 25, 2014). "Legislation aims to curb Medicare scams". West Palm Beach Post. Washington. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  21. ^ "All-out press to combat Medicare fraud". Media Release. United States Senator Bill Nelson. May 13, 2014. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  22. ^ Green, Laura (June 26, 2014). "Judge throws out fraud claim against Med-care". West Palm Beach Post. Retrieved 8 September 2014.
  23. ^ Green, Laura (January 14, 2015). "Boca Raton firm with link to 'Wolf of Wall Street' raided by feds". Palm Beach Post. Washington. Retrieved 22 December 2017.
  24. ^ Aruna Viswanatha and Zachary Fagenson (January 14, 2015). "FBI raids Florida firm with 'Wolf of Wall Street' link: witnesses". Reuters. Retrieved January 14, 2015.
  25. ^ 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.
  26. ^ Dockterman, Elianna (December 26, 2013). "The Wolf of Wall Street: The True Story". Time.
  27. ^ a b Lewak, Doree (December 9, 2013). "I was the wife of a Wall Street 'Wolf'". New York Post. Retrieved 18 July 2014.
  28. ^ "How the Wolf Of Wall Street's partner in crime lives". NewsComAu.

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