The Wolf of Wall Street

Reporter: Bryan Seymour

Jordan Belfort was a stock trader who made hundreds of millions of dollars, lost it all and went to jail. Along the way he survived two plane crashes, a sinking yacht and a raging drug habit.

Now, he's reformed for the sake of his children and he's paying his debts by teaching others how to make a fortune.

"The way to create a millionaire is really quick," he said, speaking at his trademark, breakneck pace.

"Money is a good thing, I believe that but in some ways for me it almost became the devil because I allowed it to get the best of me."

Jordan Belfort was, at age 26, worth over $100 milliom. From then on, he was known by many names but the one that stuck was The Wolf of Wall Street.

Leonardo DiCaprio will be playing Jordan Belfort in a film based on his best-selling book 'The Wolf of Wall Street'. The movie will be directed by Martin Scorcese.

"Leonardo DiCaprio, who is playing me in the movie, is actually instrumental now, he wrote me this amazing letter, a testimonial," Belfort said.

"We were out one day and he's like what, are you crazy?! Your past is your biggest asset, people would love to hear your story, the mistakes you made, also this ability you have to make money, you teach people to become wealthy, just teach them the right way versus the wrong way."

His story is both astonishing and simple. In the late 1980s he had worked his way up to run brokerage firm Stratton Oakmont. He hired a room full of young, wannabe Gordon Gecko's to cold call people and sell them stocks in companies.

This false demand pumped up prices, then Belfort would sell his shares at a massive profit, leaving the rest to pick up the pieces of hundreds of worthless companies. He was eventually convicted of swindling $200 million from mum and dad investors.

"It's a self-serving emotion, I'm guilty and you want sympathy," Belfort said. "The emotion that empowers you and allows you to redeem yourself is remorse, not guilt."

At the height of his astonishing wealth the self-made boy from the suburbs burbs had a 167-foot yacht with a helicopter, lived in a palatial mansion estate, regularly spent $20,000 on dinner, commuted by Concord and all the while entertained a monster drug habit.

Belfort described his daily drug regimen in his book: "90mg of Morphine for pain, 40mg of Oxycodone for good measure, a dozen Soma to relax my muscles, 8mg of Xanax for anxiety, 20mg of Klonopin because it sounded strong, 30mg of Ambien for insomnia, twenty Quaaludes, because I liked Quaaludes, a gram of two of coke, for balancing purposes, 20 mg of Prozac to ward off depression, 10mg of Paxil, 8mg of Zofran, 200mg of Fiorinal, 80mg of Valium, 20mg of Salagen and a pint of Macallan single malt scotch to wash it all down."

"When I started doing cocaine it was so evil and so destructive that within 90 days I was sitting in my house with a shotgun thinking space aliens were coming through the windows," Belfort said. "I look pretty good considering, don't I?"

"Look at someone whom I'm, I was a big fan of, Heath Ledger, he did far less and yet he turned his lights out, so why is that?"

Belfort was jailed for two years. It would have been a lot more if he hadn't agreed to wear a wire and bring down many of his former associates. He was also ordered to surrender half of whatever he earns to pay back those he ripped off.

"You go out and you make all this money and you look back, well what did I create? You didn't build a business because you're engaged in someone else's ingenuity, you've bought and sold it," Belfort said.

"That happened to a whole generation of brokers based on one movie, Wall St, and especially Gordon Gecko," he said.

Of Gecko's famous axiom that 'Greed is Good', Belfort says: "That's a load of crap! Greed cuts through nothing, it clarifies nothing, greed is destructive!"

These days the Wolf is now focused on his pack; son Carter, daughter Chandler, partner Anne and her son Bowen. Thousands of miles and years of insanity away from the life he knew in New York, Belfort has settled into family life at the beach in California.

While Dicaprio relives the worst of the Wolf, the man himself will be touring the world holding seminars on how to make money. He's purportedly created 12,000 millionaires so far and plans to add to that number when his Australian series begins in Perth on Monday, offering his system to guaranteed wealth.

"I have a system called the straight line system, if you stay on it you'll definitely get rich. It just takes time until those elements are lined up but once they are lined up it happens quickly," Belfort said.

"Any rich person will tell you that when they finally started making money, it happened fast."

"We live in a very expensive world and it's really hard to get rich slowly. That's one of the things that I saw with my parents trying to save a little bit. It doesn't work, that formula," he said.

And after all the money, sex, drugs, power, jail, redemption and rebirth; what is the greatest lesson we can all take from the Wolf of Wall Street?

"It doesn't matter what happened to you, doesn't matter how bad your life is. At any point in time, you're not the mistakes of your past - you are the resources and the capabilities that you've gleaned from it," Belfort said.

  • The Wolf says he is on track to pay back everyone he swindled within two years.

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Jordan Belfort - "The Wolf of Wall St" - Seminar information: