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


This article first appeared on 702 : The real Wolf of Wall Street: from sex orgies and drugs to an inspiring new life


CapeTalk welcomes all comments that are constructive, contribute to discussions in a meaningful manner and take stories forward.

However, we will NOT condone the following:

  • Racism (including offensive comments based on ethnicity and nationality)
  • Sexism
  • Homophobia
  • Religious intolerance
  • Cyber bullying
  • Hate speech
  • Derogatory language
  • Comments inciting violence.

We ask that your comments remain relevant to the articles they appear on and do not include general banter or conversation as this dilutes the effectiveness of the comments section.

We strive to make the CapeTalk community a safe and welcoming space for all.

CapeTalk reserves the right to: 1) remove any comments that do not follow the above guidelines; and, 2) ban users who repeatedly infringe the rules.

Should you find any comments upsetting or offensive you can also flag them and we will assess it against our guidelines.

CapeTalk is constantly reviewing its comments policy in order to create an environment conducive to constructive conversations.

Read More
Learn how to code, for free! Meet WeThinkCode_’s Arlene Mulder...

Learn how to code, for free! Meet WeThinkCode_’s Arlene Mulder...

Interested in attending a free, two-year course in computer programming? Bruce Whitfield interviews the cofounder of WeThinkCode_.

Want to do good? Not sure where to start? You may want to check this out...

Want to do good? Not sure where to start? You may want to check this out...

Bruce Whitfield interviews forgood.co.za CEO Andy Hadfield. Forgood.co.za connects those who want to help with those who need it.

[Transcript] Meet Whitey Basson - the retail genius behind the rise of Shoprite

[Transcript] Meet Whitey Basson - the retail genius behind the rise of Shoprite

[FULL TRANSCRIPT] Basson recounts how he grew Shoprite from tiny, R1 million company into a the largest retailer in Africa.

Meet Joseph Phalwane and Jeff Cullis; owners of SA’s best small businesses

Meet Joseph Phalwane and Jeff Cullis; owners of SA’s best small businesses

Ray White interviews the entrepreneurs behind the winners of this year’s Small Business Awards.

Meet Bongumusa Makhathini, Chairperson of the Board that has to save the SABC

Meet Bongumusa Makhathini, Chairperson of the Board that has to save the SABC

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Makhathini for his “ShapeShifter” feature.

Meet Vuyani Jarana, the brave man tasked with saving SAA

Meet Vuyani Jarana, the brave man tasked with saving SAA

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews South African Airways' brand-new CEO.

Popular articles
'This puts pressure on Jacob Zuma to vacate office earlier'

'This puts pressure on Jacob Zuma to vacate office earlier'

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviews Daniel Silke, Political Economy Analyst at Political Futures Consultancy.

Judge Mlambo: Zuma's application amounts to abuse of judicial process

Judge Mlambo: Zuma's application amounts to abuse of judicial process

EWN Barry Bateman explains the High Court proceeding on President Zuma's application to set aside parts of Madonsela's report.

It's chicken for Joburgers and Durbanites, but what do Capetonians feast on?

It's chicken for Joburgers and Durbanites, but what do Capetonians feast on?

Stephen Grootes spoke to founder and CEO of OrderIn to find out more about South African's eating habits.

Predictably awesome new Nando's ad reminds South Africans ‘we can fix our sh$t’

Predictably awesome new Nando's ad reminds South Africans ‘we can fix our sh$t’

Watch the Guptas pack their bags and run in Nando's inspiring new advertisement.

PSG Chair Jannie Mouton opens up (kind of) about Steinhoff

PSG Chair Jannie Mouton opens up (kind of) about Steinhoff

In 2012 Steinhoff acquired 20% of wealth manager PSG, reportedly infuriating Mouton. Bruce Whitfield interviews him.

[LISTEN] Caller challenges Eusebius on land disposition

[LISTEN] Caller challenges Eusebius on land disposition

‘I need you to provide me with an answer' - John from Edenvale, Gauteng