Jordan Belfort, a former penny-stock broker and self-proclaimed "scammer" who was portrayed in the movie "The Wolf of Wall Street," is being ordered to hand over more money to the investors he tricked.
Belfort pleaded guilty in 1999 to manipulating investors into buying stocks that eventually turned out to be worthless. The judge sentenced him to 42 months in prison and ordered him to pay $110 million back to those investors. As of November 30, Belfort had only repaid a fraction of that amount — $12.8 million, according to court documents.
As part of the restitution, the government had filed an application to garnish 100 percent of Belfort's equity interest in a private company called Delos Living.
Belfort, depicted by Leonardo DiCaprio in the Martin Scorsese-directed film, objected, claiming that the government could only take 25 percent of his interest in that company, citing the the Consumer Credit Protection Act.
U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly denied Belfort's objection and issued an order granting the government permission to take 100 percent of his stake in Delos, a wellness real estate and technology company.
"A review of the statute's purpose and the relevant case law leads me to conclude that these interests are not what Congress had in mind when it enacted the CCPA," Donnelly said in the court order.
Brooklyn-based Donnelly said Congress adopted the garnishment limitation to "relieve countless honest debtors driven by economic desperation from plunging into bankruptcy in order to preserve their employment and insure a continued means of support for themselves and their families."
"Nothing about the defendant's arrangement with Delos Living is consistent with that goal," Donnelly said, adding that it would frustrate "the primary and overarching goal" of the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act.
The U.S. Attorney's Office told CNBC it had no comment regarding the case, while Belfort's attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Belfort appeared in the CNBC original, " Bitcoin: Boom or Bust," to challenge the viability of the cryptocurrency.
"I was a scammer. I had it down to science, and it's exactly what's happening with bitcoin," he told CNBC in the documentary, which aired in August. "The whole thing is so stupid, these kids have gotten themselves so brainwashed."