ShapeShifter

The real Wolf of Wall Street: from sex orgies and drugs to an inspiring new life

(Click here for more from "The Money Show".)

(Click here for more "ShapeShifter" articles such as this one.)

Q: In your heyday you were making around US$1-million (R11.2-million) a week. How did it all go wrong? (Soundcloud: 0.40)

A: I was very young at the time; only 24 years old. I invented a system for training salespeople and, at the same time, uncovered a niche in the stock market – selling cheap stocks to the richest one percent of Americans. When these two factors combined the firms started to grow so fast that it started to outstrip my ability to create a good product to sell. That’s where it started to go wrong; I started to lose my ethical way. By a process of desensitisation, one step at a time, I started doing things I never thought I’d do.

Q: Was it greed? (Soundcloud: 2.03)

A: Sure! Remember, it was 1989. I recall getting out of the movie theatre after watching the movie “Wall Street” in which the character Gordan Gekko says “Greed is good!” Today I, obviously, know better. Greed is destructive. So, yes, it was greed.

Q: You stole from people. Are you ashamed of that? (Soundcloud: 2.36)

A: I’m not ashamed. I think shame is a terrible, destructive emotion. I’m remorseful, which is why I’m paying everyone back this year. In the beginning I did feel shame, but you can’t live your life like that. You’ll destroy yourself. Remorse is much more helpful, which is what I feel today. Because I feel remorse I now live my life as a businessman who does things in an honest way. I create wealth for other people, teach them how to make money and sell. I help a lot of entrepreneurs. At the same time I’m righting the wrongs of my past. I think it’s a far more healthy way to go about things.

Q: US authorities haven’t been too happy with the pace at which you’re paying people back. Are you sure you’ll be able to pay everyone back this year? (Soundcloud: 3.35)

A: The US government just got their heads handed to them by the judge, because they were completely full of it. For years I was overpaying! Far more than I ever had to! The judge ruled on this two weeks ago. He completely denounced the US government. They were wrong. I was paying back far more than anyone else ever did. It was my goal and my desire to pay back all the money this year.

Q: How much has your life changed since the events described in “The Wolf of Wall Street” (Soundcloud: 4.41)

A: In some ways my life now is the polar opposite of what it was then. I’m engaged to the woman I love. I travel the world and I work with entrepreneurs and salespeople. I motivate people to make money and live a more empowered life. My track record in helping people succeed is far better than anybody out there. I’m really good at it. I still have a very exciting life. I travel around and give seminars in front of thousands of people. It’s still exciting, but a much healthier way to live. I’m drug free, I create value for other people and I help them make money. Back then I had a selfish, greed mentality. I was just trying to get as much as I can.

Q: Your past life is there for everyone to see. They know your name and recognise you. Do people ever say, “You are that guy! You lived that debaucherous life!”? I’m thinking about your antics with cocaine and whatnot. (Soundcloud: 5.44)

A: Believe it or not; people love that about me! Often there’s a hidden wish fulfilment because people don’t live that life. People often say, “Wow! That’s so cool!” I don’t think it’s a healthy thing.

Q: We shouldn’t glamorise your life. (Soundcloud: 6.22)

A: Yeah, exactly. But let’s face it; some of that lifestyle is glamorous! The part that sucks is that people lost money. That part is just plain f*ed! Remove that aspect and pretend that everyone made money; then you could go the movie and just laugh your ass off. For me it’s very important that people get the right message that, although it was fun, you don’t want to live that life. I have a very powerful skillset – sales. That’s great stuff, but you’ve got to use that ethically.

Q: Are you, in a sense, trying to redeem yourself in these talks that you give? (Soundcloud: 7.25)

I already have redeemed myself! In my own heart; I’m redeemed. I’m living a great life. I do things right and I help people. I get more than a hundred emails a day from people all over the world who have attended my seminars, or watched videos of mine, who said it changed their lives. It’s not a matter of redeeming myself; this is the life I was always supposed to live! I come from a good family; I wasn’t sent out into the world to be crazy! I went off course, but this is the person I originally was supposed to be. I wasn’t brought up in a mafia family where I was supposed to be a criminal. It was a seven year period where I went off course and now I’m back on course again.

(Click here for more from "The Money Show".)

(Click here for more "ShapeShifter" articles such as this one.)

Listen to the entire interview (contains strong language) on Soundcloud below (or skip to the times indicated after each question above).

Also watch 60 Minutes’ Liz Hayes interview Belfort and watch him explode and storm off set when Hayes delve into his latest financial dealings.

Subscribe to our Business Wrap Newsletter


Recommended

by NEWSROOM AI
Read More
38 deals, not one failure! – Bruce Whitfield on black-owned Pape Fund Managers

38 deals, not one failure! – Bruce Whitfield on black-owned Pape Fund Managers

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Zuko Kubukeli, CEO at Pape Fund Managers.

Need a loan to grow your small business? There’s a pot of money waiting

Need a loan to grow your small business? There’s a pot of money waiting

Spartan SME Finance provides finance for small businesses. Bruce Whitfield interviews its CEO, Kumaran Padayachee.

Grade-4s in SA don’t understand what they’re ‘reading’. Enter Click Foundation…

Grade-4s in SA don’t understand what they’re ‘reading’. Enter Click Foundation…

Nicola Harris (founder, Click Foundation) on her mission to radically transform educational outcomes of disadvantaged learners.

Pieter de Villiers is (yet another) South African taking Silicon Valley by storm

Pieter de Villiers is (yet another) South African taking Silicon Valley by storm

He’s the co-founder of Clickatell, global leaders in application-to-person mobile messaging and mobile transactional services.

Meet Fred Roed, founder of 'Heavy Chef' (SA’s most popular monthly tech event)

Meet Fred Roed, founder of 'Heavy Chef' (SA’s most popular monthly tech event)

The Money Show's Bruce Whitfield interviews the author of "The Heavy Chef Guide to Starting a Business in South Africa".

Still young(ish)? Entry-level jobs available on Lulaway’s employment platform

Still young(ish)? Entry-level jobs available on Lulaway’s employment platform

Lulaway has placed 30 000 young South Africans in jobs since 2011. Bruce Whitfield interviews its CEO, Jake Willis.

Popular articles
DA to decide if Herman Mashaba will serve his notice period or get cut loose

DA to decide if Herman Mashaba will serve his notice period or get cut loose

It's reported that some senior members of the Democratic Alliance want Mashaba's membership terminated with immediate effect.

'Audit found Mango and Comair planes were signed off by unqualified persons'

'Audit found Mango and Comair planes were signed off by unqualified persons'

The South African Civil Aviation Authority explains some of the findings of its maintenance audit at SAA Technical.

'I want to ensure my money delivers change to as many people as possible'

'I want to ensure my money delivers change to as many people as possible'

Black Business Council president Sandile Zungu on his attitude toward money (hopes and fears, successes and failures, etc.).

'Mbete faced difficult questions. She has done a lot in terms of responding'

'Mbete faced difficult questions. She has done a lot in terms of responding'

Xolani Xala (SA Business Abroad) defends his defence of ANC stalwart Baleka Mbete’s "car crash" interview on Al Jazeera.

[WATCH] Oprah roasts student about his cracked phone, then buys him a new one

[WATCH] Oprah roasts student about his cracked phone, then buys him a new one

Khabazela shares tweets and Facebook posts that have gone viral.

Why Vestact is buying Discovery (JSE), Long4Life (JSE) and Booking.com

Why Vestact is buying Discovery (JSE), Long4Life (JSE) and Booking.com

Portfolio Manager Byron Lotter shares his stock picks of the week with Bruce Whitfield on The Money Show.

[LISTEN] What you need to know about new revenge porn laws

[LISTEN] What you need to know about new revenge porn laws

A person found guilty of so-called 'revenge porn' could now face up to four years in prison or a fine of up to R300,000.

[WATCH] Toddler upset that mom didn't give him a goodbye kiss, is so adorable

[WATCH] Toddler upset that mom didn't give him a goodbye kiss, is so adorable

Khabazela shares tweets and Facebook posts that have gone viral.

[WATCH] Boy explaining what he heard when parents had sex goes viral

[WATCH] Boy explaining what he heard when parents had sex goes viral

Khabazela shares tweets and Facebook posts that have gone viral.