NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- A few weeks before the FBI and U.S. regulators swooped down on notorious penny-stock boiler shop, Stratton Oakmont - the subject of Martin Scorsese's stock crime blockbuster, The Wolf of Wall Street -- an innovative financial news organization was born, calling itself TheStreet.com.
For the first time on the Internet or anywhere, accurate and detailed news on the workings of Wall Street would be provided to investors, many of whom had been lied to and fleeced by manipulators epitomized by the movie's pump-and-dump king, Jordan Belfort, played in the film by the devilish Leonardo DiCaprio.
"What we have here [are] a number of scoundrels," an attorney for one of the companies brought public by Stratton told TheStreet.
That company in question was fashion footwear-maker Steve Madden (SHOO), whose principal - Steve Madden - would be implicated in the massive federal investigation. TheStreet reported the IPO drama showcased in Scorsese's film accurately and with great detail before other news organizations many times its size.
The Street was willing to name names and call spades what they were. Its reporters learned that Stratton had fraudulently arranged to hide the secret control of the shoe company by Belfort, his Oakmont partner Daniel Porush and Porush's childhood buddy, Madden.
Madden would be convicted of stock manipulation and securities fraud and serve several years in federal prison.
"Questions have circulated for years concerning Madden's involvement with Stratton Oakmont," wrote the bird-dogging reporter, Robert Kowalski. "Rumors have circulated recently that Madden might be in trouble with the law," he continued, quite accurately.