Frank Abagnale is an American security consultant. Born in 1948, he rose to fame by claiming to be a successful con-man. But whether he is actually speaking the truth or not has been challenged by many. Apparently, the security consultant impersonated an airline pilot for two years before he was 21, a resident doctor in Georgia for a year, the Assistant Attorney General, Lousiana for 1 year and also one professor from Brigham Young University for 2 semesters. But many journalists have claimed these to be false. Abagnale is also an ex-convict. He was arrested by the NYPD at Westchester County for stealing from a local business and was sentenced to three years in jail.
Abagnale started making his so-called true claims in 1977. He also claimed that after being released from jail he had been on run for five years from 1965 to 1970 – wherein he worked as the paediatrician, assistant attorney general, etc. Frank Abagnale has also claimed to have made an “aircraft escape” through the toilet. He co-authored a book, titled “Catch Me If You Can,” centring around all his escapades. And, he even makes events and talk shows surrounding these, despite protests for their cancellation.
Frank Abagnale: Early Life and Conning
He was born Frank William Abagnale Jr, on April 27th of 1948. His father was of Italian descent, and his mother was French. He spent 16 years in New Rochelle, New York until his father and mother separated. His father was rich and vocal about politics. Frank Abagnale claims him as his “role model.” Frank claims he attended High School at Iona Preparatory School, but he is not present in the yearbooks, and neither do the alum of his time remember him. He was imprisoned for a while (when he was 17-21 years old) on counts of robbery, which coincides with the time he claimed he started his con-man business. You can see why his claims might seem fictitious.
Ironically, his first victim was apparently his own father. He gave his son a gasoline credit card, a truck and ended up being liable for 3,400 USD. Frank Jr was only fifteen at this time. His main cons included defrauding small business owners and individuals. He was arrested for the same from 1965 to 1974. He would take blank checks from the victims and cash them. They were unlikely to be noticed because he tore them off from behind. After a lenient sentence, he went to Europe and committed similar crimes. He was even arrested by the FBI to face charges for a stolen car among other things, in 1965.
He wanted to look more legitimate while defrauding people, and made himself a uniform of Pan American World Airways, and told the company he was their pilot and had lost uniform. Thus, he was successful in obtaining a pilot’s license as well. His teenage hair was already greying which helped in his general persona. All his hotel and other expenses went to the account of the Airways. Apparently, he even flew a plane – even though he didn’t know how to fly a kite!
Under the name of Frank Williams, he acted as a chief resident in Georgia Hospital. He had made his way to be a fake resident in charge of interns. Frank was never caught because he always let the eager interns handle their own cases. He faked it until he almost made it – he left because he was afraid he would kill people when he almost couldn’t save a blue baby. This claim, however, has been proven to be a lie by S. Hall, a journalist, in 1978.
This in my opinion is one of his most “Extreme” cons, if he has actually done it, apparently. According to him, he forged a Harvard law transcript and passed the Law Bar Exam on the 3rd try. He got a job at the Louisiana State Attorney General’s office at the age of 19. He spent 8 months as a fake attorney. However, this too is under extreme uncertainty since reports show that he was mostly in-and-out of prison from 1965 to 1974. Where did he find the time to become a pilot, then a lawyer, then a doctor?
Becoming A Security Consultant
He was released in 1974 after spending 7 years in prison. But, on the condition that he would help the government – the police, the FBI and all – to investigate frauds and con-crimes and sign in with the authorities 1 time a week. He didn’t want to return to his family, so his parole was set up in Houston, Texas. Frank tried many jobs, but couldn’t stick in a place due to his criminal past, and also because he found the jobs unsatisfying. Then, he started his job as a security consultant to a bank. He later founded Abagnale and Associates which helps companies on fraud issues, and Abagnale is still in touch with the FBI: he teaches at their academy. In fact, his son, Scott is in the FBI himself. He claims that his wife, Kelly is the reason his life changed.
Frank Abagnale: Net Worth
Currently, 72 years old, he has been in touch with the FBI for over 40 years. He is now a very successful businessman, too. His life story, “Catch Me If You Can” has been made into a movie starring Leonardo Di Caprio and Tom Hanks. It is estimated that Frank has a net worth of around 10 million USD.