The Crazy (but True) Way ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ Smuggled His Money

Yahoo Movies

Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Wolf of Wall Street'
Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Wolf of Wall Street'

So how would you get $3 million in cash into Switzerland without U.S. Customs knowing? Jordan Belfort — also known as "The Wolf of Wall Street" — had an idea. It involved a woman, a Swiss passport, and a roll of packing tape.

Leonardo DiCaprio plays the title role in director Martin Scorsese's upcoming film adaptation of Belfort's memoir about his meteoric rise and fall in the '90s. And in the first clip from the film, debuting exclusively here on Yahoo Movies, Belfort and partner Donnie Azoff (played by Jonah Hill) consider going to extremes to get money they had swindled from investors out of the country and into a Swiss bank.

Belfort made a fortune in the early 1990s by running Stratton Oakmont, a Long Island brokerage with a floor full of associates selling worthless stocks over the phone. Belfort's crew would drive up the price of the stock, sell their shares at an enormous profit, and leave their clients with the losses when the price collapsed. (Belfort's operation also inspired the 2000 film "Boiler Room.") The firm cheated investors out of $200 million, and it created the problem for Belfort of what to do with the cash.

The scene in the clip is taken from a real-life experience the so-called Wolf details in his book. Belfort, who had developed a serious addiction to Quaaludes, enlisted his drug dealer (called "Brad" in the film, played by Jon Bernthal) to help him get money out of the country. Brad, in turn, brought in his wife (Katarina Cas), a Swiss citizen. They actually did tape stacks of cash to her, and were able to affix $300,000 to her body. But then they realized it would take 10 round trips to get Belfort's $3 million into a Swiss bank, and repeated encounters with Customs agents could get risky. So the pair recruited her family to help run the cash overseas in larger groups (and in bags, not under their clothes).

In the clip, Donnie also wants to use them to transport his ill-gotten gains, much to their disapproval. Not to get too far in to spoiler territory, but they should've gone with their gut and stayed away from him. Belfort and his team were eventually taken down by the FBI, and he spent 22 months in prison. He was also ordered to pay back $110.4 million to the investors he cheated. According to the terms of his sentencing, 50 percent of any income he makes (including selling the movies rights to his book) has to go back to his victims.

Presumably, he isn't paying them back by taping the cash to their bodies.

"The Wolf of Wall Street" opens Christmas Day.