Amazing Story of Frank Abagnale: Expert Con Artist and Inspiration for Catch Me If You Can
Frank Abagnale has had a most unusual life. A teenage runaway, Abagnale was one of the most successful con artists ever. He managed to pass himself off as a pilot, a doctor and a lawyer, using the alias Frank Williams. He succeeded in scamming the financial industry to the tune of millions of dollars in forged checks. What is even more remarkable is the fact that he went on to become a respected expert of fraud prevention.
At the incredible age of 17, when his parents split up, he decided to run away and start his own life. He acquired several fake drivers licences, and through those posed as an airline pilot. This enabled him to fly free and cash fake cheques in the various cities of America and Europe.
He used a variety of methods to pull off his con. One of the most innovative was to type up his own cheques on a Dalton 1011 duplicator and signing them with the name of Pan American World Airways, for which he had a valid signature. He was subsequently arrested numerous times, but managed to escape from custody twice and continued on his journey using whichever alias he needed.
The Absurdity of the Fraud
The incredible thing about Abagnale’s fraud is that it actually succeeded and he managed to issue over two and a half million dollars worth of forged cheques before his luck finally ran out. The FBI eventually caught up with him in France and thanks to a law which prevented extradition of citizens to countries whom the French deemed immoral, he was able to except an offer of imprisonment in America in exchange for cooperating with the FBI to fight fraud.
Frank Abagnale: Inspiration for Dozens of Books and Films
Frank Abagnale has given the world a great deal thanks to his involvement in unscrupulous activities. He refused to publish his autobiography, as he felt it was wrong to make money from his bad deeds, but did allow another author to write about his life, aptly named “Catch Me If You Can.” This book was later adapted into the popular film, again of the same name,starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.
Abagnale has since gone on to use his experiences to help the law enforcement and business communities combat fraud, white-collar crime, and identity theft and is a much respected expert on this subject. He is a regular speaker at FBI and government agencies and has also been asked to appear on several television and radio programmes.
Where is Frank Abagnale now?
Frank Abagnale is now a speaker and consultant on fraud, white collar crime and identity theft. He speaks regularly at the FBI, government agencies and universities and also appears on several television and radio programmes.
What was the inspiration for the “Catch Me If You Can” movie?
The movie “Catch Me If You Can” was based on a book of the same name, which Author Frank W. Abagnale allowed to be published about his life of con artistry.
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