Former Employee of Real 'Wolf of Wall Street' Talks Life of Excess
Josh Shapiro spoke to INSIDE EDITION about working for the real life Wolf of Wall Street, whose spectacular rise and fall is depicted in the just-released movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio as notorious swindler Jordan Belfort.
“I was a young man, I was driving a fast car, I was hanging out with beautiful women, I was wearing Armani suits, I was living the life, I thought at the time. Jordan Belfort was a God in the company nothing less. Not a kingpin, not a principal, not a boss, but a God,” said Shapiro.
Shapiro was one of the salesmen who peddled worthless stocks to unsuspecting investors in a hangar sized boiler room.
“Drug use was rampant. It was Valium for breakfast, marijuana for lunch, and Quaaludes for dinner,” said Shapiro.
Successful salesmen were given rich rewards from cash bonuses to sex.
Shapiro said, “There were car rewards, dinner rewards, trips to Atlantic City, and of course, high class escorts.”
Home video of the real life Wolf of Wall Street at his company Christmas party in 1994 hears Balfort saying, “You ought to be damn proud to be part of this organization. It's a special place!”
In fact, mom and pop investors lost $200 million by entrusting their life savings to Belfort and his crooked cohorts.
Shapiro said, “There was no way to win. It was a total fix.”
Shapiro says he quit after he discovered he had lost one retiree $100,000.
“That’s what made me say ‘No, I can't do it any more,’” he said.
Bernie Madoff was jailed for 150 years. When the law finally caught up with Jordan Belfort he served 22 months in prison.
The movie, The Wolf of Wall Street is based on the now 51-year-old swindler's best-selling memoirs. Today, he is a motivational speaker and his next venture may be a reality TV show.
Belfort said, “I lost my freedom, of course, all my money. I lost my family for a time.”
Shapiro says the movie hits home because it depicts a part of his life of which he's now ashamed.
He said, “This is not the way I want to be remembered, by taking people's money.”
Before working on Wall Street, Shaprio was a member of the U.S. military, he is passionate about the Wounded Warriors project. For more information, click here.