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With the film based upon his life having already grossed more than 91 million dollars, Jordan Belfort has been able to begin taking small steps towards making retributions to the countless investors he swindled.
The inspiration for "Wolf of Wall Street," Belfort joined Piers Morgan exclusively on Monday evening for a live, hour long interview, during which the host listed some of the people impacted by the behavior that landed Belfort in prison for nearly two years:
"Peter Springfield: an architect in Mystic, Connecticut, he lost half of his life savings. Dr. Alfred Vitt, a retired dentist, who lost $250 thousand dollars. One victim, called Bob Shearin, reportedly lost $130 thousand dollars, he told The Telegraph Newspaper this," detailed Morgan, before quoting from the article:
"His depiction in this movie is annoying and disturbing, because it makes him more into a mythical figure and skips the reality of what he was about. And what he was about was harming people financially."
Having written his autobiography five years ago, as what he describes as a "cathartic" experience, Belfort admitted that the early nineties offered a glimpse of him at his worst:
"You picked probably the highlight of what I considered myself to be the most depraved year of my life," he revealed.
Though he's traveling America sharing his cautionary tale, and using income earned from motivational speaking engagements to help repay his victims, Belfort noted that he's yet to meet any of those that he personally impacted:
"I have not ... no one has sought me out," he said.
Morgan, though, pressed forward, suggesting that such a meeting ought be part of his penance:
"Why haven't you sought them out," he asked. "Wouldn't it be part of your self-redemption, to actually track some of these people down, we know some of their names, know what they're saying about you, if you actually called them up and just said, 'I actually would like to talk to you, I would like to apologize to you personally for what happened?'"
Insisting that his "action speaks louder than words," Belfort maintained that financial retribution is the single most-valuable form of repayment he can offer:
"What I'm doing here, by turning over 100 percent of the profits, is probably the most genuine thing I can do," he said. "Honestly I feel terrible about what happened. You asked if I had shame: back then, yes. Now, no. I'm not going to live my life in shame. I think that's a toxic emotion. I live with remorse, and that means I go out and do things actively to make up for the wrongs that I committed in the past."
Despite such a position, Belfort isn't closed to the option of a face to face encounter with someone he swindled:
"If I found a few of your victims, would you come and see them," asked Morgan.
Monday's guest replied in the affirmative:
"Yeah. Sure I would."
Watch the clip for more of Morgan's interview with Belfort, and for the next edition of "Piers Morgan Live," watch CNN every night at 9.
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