by Ray Saulon
There’s a point in The Wolf of Wall Street when Leonardo DiCaprio’s character gives his sales staff a blood-vessel-bursting speech about how his “warriors” should not put down the phone until their client buys or dies. The brokerage house depicted in that movie, Stratton Oakmont, is also the focus of Ray Saulon’s Bleeding Greed, which tells of the author’s initiation into the get-rich-quick business of selling penny stocks at Stratton (and later at the Harriman Group). All Stratton wanted were “uneducated, uncultured, street hustlers” – men like Saulon who had no stockbroking experience before being hired as cold callers hungry enough to work their way up the food chain to become brokers. Saulon recalls the wide-boy patter, greed-is-good mentality and strategies such as the classic “pump and dump” of the penny stock business that ruled his world. Stratton Oakmont was shut down in 1996 and the epilogue reveals that Saulon was convicted of (among other things) securities fraud and bank fraud, earning him two years in jail and having to pay restitution of US$500,000. He now works as a motivational speaker in Las Vegas.