The ex-wife of convicted financial conman Danny Porush has revealed how she watched a wholesome, loving man suddenly become a scummy criminal who was secretly stealing money from her.
Nancy Porush, mother of three, told The New York Post how Danny's desire to make money as fast as possible led to the demise of his business and family.
The 52-year-old from Mill Basin, Queens, who currently lives in a modest Syosset home, began her story by explaining what kind of a man Danny Porush was before stock firm Stratton Oakmont hit it big.
The two met at a fancy black-tie party in Manhattan. He was 27 and Nancy 22.
She was immediately drawn to his smooth-talking confidence and growing wealth.
Danny asked her to come work for his company and a year later, he proposed to her at a cheap hotel.
Doubts caused her to call off the wedding, but Danny refused to give in on his goal. He bought them a two-bedroom apartment in Bayside, Queens, and kept insisting that he couldn't live without Nancy.
The two were married in January of 1986.
Nancy was commuting to the city for work every day, which was tough because she was pregnant. Thankfully, a nice boy would always give up his seat for her on the bus.
That was how she met Jordan Belfort, the Wolf of Wall Street.
She pushed Danny to talk to Jordan about possible business ventures. He agreed and was awarded a job at Jordan's company soon after obtaining his stock broker's license.
It wasn't too long into this job that Nancy recalled Danny, who never seemed to care much for money, coming home one day a changed man, shocked at the amount of money he was making.
This was when Jordan and Danny decided to go into business together.
"It was an embarrassment of riches," Nancy said of what Danny started spending his money on. "We bought a five-bedroom house in Oyster Bay Cove on Long Island’s North Shore on two acres of land, with a pool and tennis court. Danny sunk hundreds of thousands into it, blowing it out. Our second son’s bris in 1990 was as glamorous as a wedding. We had over 100 guests dressed to the nines — mostly Stratton guys and always talking business. "Danny bought me a big white Mercedes, even though I preferred driving around in my little minivan. We had so many cars, Bentleys, a private plane, a beach house in the Hamptons and another in Palm Beach."
The two literally could buy whatever they wanted. Danny would also constantly assure his wife that he was doing noble work such as helping the environment and creating hundreds of jobs.
"But there was a dark side," she said. "Danny changed with money; he’d frequently stay out late at night, saying he had a business meeting in the city that he couldn’t get out of. I was a young mom with two babies. I’m not stupid or naive — but I really didn’t know what was going on. I was home watching 'Sesame Street' with our sons."
She remembers watching Danny pose and brag at one party in the Hamptons, acting like someone she had never met before in her life.
It was at this point when Danny had Nancy sign a series of confusing documents. She trusted her husband when he was really putting assets in her name as part of the fraud he was committing.
It was 1995, and Nasdaq had begun investigating the massive profits Stratton Oakmont was raking in.
The firm managed to evade the authorities by shutting down and opening up companies under new names, but on Labor Day weekend of 1997, the jig was up.
Nancy was in her kitchen of her new house in Boca Raton, Florida, preparing her kids for their first day of school when Danny called to say he was being arrested.
Danny was released in winter of that year and Nancy was feeling hopeful for a new future.
Then he dropped another bombshell on her in April of 1998.
“I’m in love with another woman,” he announced. “She’s having my baby, and I’m divorcing you!”
Danny was sentenced to 39 months in 1999.
"As for me, I went through hell," Nancy told the Post. "All of our homes were seized and foreclosed. I was called before the FCC, FBI, SEC and the US government. My name was dragged into everything because so much of the paperwork implicated me. I fought so many people that I don’t even know whom I was fighting. I’ve been sued so many times — all related to Danny losing people’s money."
She was served an endless buffet of lawsuits and recalls one man coming to her door with a huge stack of papers on the morning of her first son's bar mitzvah.
Nancy sold everything she could and began teaching yoga and Pilates to support her family.
Thankfully, she is now free of debt and is living with a man she trusts. But she is still haunted by the memories of what Danny Porush became and the upcoming film isn't making it much better.
She closes her piece for the Post with some advice for young men who idolize the life her husband once led:
"I hope young kids aren’t going to look at their glorified lives and want to be a stockbrokers too. Greed is not good — it’s ugly. The more money, the more problems. Too much of anything is never good."