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January 20th, 2014
11:55 PM ET

Jordan Belfort on the victims he swindled: "I feel terrible about what happened...I'm not going to live my life in shame"

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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Filed under: The Piers Morgan Interview
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Tamara Morton

    Enjoyed your interview tonight but felt that your final comment was so rude. After 40+ minutes of talking with him and ALL you learned was about selling a pen? I realize it was a joke but I thought it was a little offensive. I thought I saw a hurt/shocked look on his face. Otherwise, I'm very happy that you're on the air and watch you frequently.

    January 21, 2014 at 1:08 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Dan Peterson

    Seeing Belfort attempting to manipulate and "sell” his version of history, obligations, and even to a degree, his convenient sense of redemption, brings to mind a great quote from another film, “Magnolia” — “You may be through with the past, but the past ain't through with you”.

    January 21, 2014 at 2:26 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Kristie

    Jordan shouldn't continue punishing himself. It has been 17 years. I like what he says about not living in shame but live with remorse instead. At some point we have to forgive ourselves for the mistakes we make. Yes, some mistakes are larger in scale than others but ultimately shame is shame. Reach out to victims? Decision should be initiated by Jordan.

    January 21, 2014 at 3:56 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Name* andi

    Good job Piers Morgan! I'm actually almost done reading the 1st book; i don't see any sensitivity in this man, rather an urgency to get his point across. Bringing his victims to light put a real spin on this larger than life tale of excess. It was obvious, Mr Belfort has no real interest in his victims; in fact, if he possessed shame, he never would have sold his story.

    January 21, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Lew

    Jordon's version of "sell this pen was rather lame." He might have done better if he had taken the pen and said: Now that I have the pen in my possession, it's mine. How much is it worth to you to buy it?" I did this once with an expensive pen and the "customer" actually bought it back for $8.00. His little trick backfired on him.

    January 21, 2014 at 4:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Don

    Political correctness. That is all.

    February 5, 2014 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. John

    You got conned . . . just like Jordon Belforts victims! You let him off much too easy! Jordon Belfort has spent his life cheating people and responding to objections and criticisms. He is a master at rationalizing and deflecting anything negative or critical. His answers reflect a lot of “coaching” by lawyers, crisis management professionals, public relations specialists and therapists. His victims will see through his façade. No wonder he has never met any of them!

    February 22, 2014 at 10:44 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Chew nut

    " 100% of the profits"
    Define PROFIT.
    the travel voucher exceeds the original take!

    February 25, 2014 at 11:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. that guy

    Never start writing the essay instantly, consider what you happen to be going to write and what structure and paragraphing you may follow. ' Still young as far as screenwriting is worried, both the have the potential to put another mega-hit before they're forced into teaching classes on his or her craft.
    that guy

    April 9, 2014 at 12:38 am | Report abuse | Reply

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