The movie Catch me if you can (2002) starring Leonardo Dicaprio tells the story of a super con artist named Frank with an extraordinary and unique life. I thought it was only in the movie, but this is a real character, dubbed “America’s No. 1 super trick”.
“Talent” cheats since childhood
Frank William Abagnale was born in 1948 in New York, USA into a wealthy family. As a warm boy, Frank lived a full, happy childhood, until he was 14 years old. The divorce of parents has made teenagers in the most sensitive age become rebellious and hate life.
Frank Abagnale as a teenager
Choosing to live with a busy father, Frank was “free” to play and play, hang out with bad friends and then start committing crimes like stealing. Wanting to earn money to pour into the fun, the 15-year-old boy successfully performed the first scam in his life with the victim of none other than his businessman father.
Once, Frank was given a credit card by his father for gas. The narcissist devises a way to rob his father by swiping his card to buy tires and then selling them back to the gas station attendant at a cheaper price, successfully turning the money in the credit card into thousands of dollars in cash.
At the age of 16, Frank ran away from home and found a part-time job at a securities company with a salary of 1.5 USD/hour. Thinking he was underpaid due to underage, Frank faked his identity as a 26-year-old and was paid $2.75 an hour.
Seeing that the counterfeiting of documents was initially successful, he continued to forge checks, earned thousands of dollars, and bypassed the bank. The case broke, Frank was arrested by FBI agent Richard Miller at the age of 16. However, he did not receive a heavy penalty because he was underage.
Changing identity is like turning a hand
One of Frank’s childhood dreams was to become a pilot. At the age of 18, Frank found a way to fulfill this wish, but in a special way. He forged identity cards and permits, then called Pan Am Airlines and claimed to be an employee who lost his uniform at the hotel. The airline no doubt sent Frank a new set for free.
Frank then blatantly went to work like the real thing. Not only can he fly a plane, he also enjoys vacations and hotel rooms in the airline’s mode. While working, Frank turned on the autopilot for the plane and luckily no accident happened.
Frank Abagnale as a pilot
Using the Pan Am pilot, he flew 250 free flights to 26 countries and stayed at many luxury hotels without losing any money. Frank tactfully did not choose Pan Am flights for fear that the airline’s employees would recognize him as a “fake”.
After 2 years of flying around the world, Frank began to fear being exposed and decided to quit his job, fleeing to Georgia. At this point, Frank continued to choose a respected career followed by a doctor.
He is also very invested when he spends his time teaching himself medicine from books and befriending a neighbor who is a doctor named Willis Granger. This friend then referred Frank to Smithers General Hospital because he believed the lie that he was also his doctor. Thanks to Granger’s reputation and prestige, the recruiters didn’t ask Frank for his degree. He successfully passed the tests, interviews and was accepted. Frank’s work is primarily management-oriented without the need for specialized performance.
Super trick image in the role of a doctor
Bored of being a doctor, Frank moved to Louisiana and continued to work as a lawyer. He still uses his “talent” to make fake documents to fake Harvard law school transcripts. At the age of 19, the young man was recruited into the office of the Attorney General of Louisiana through a recommendation from an insider he deliberately got acquainted with. With no knowledge or expertise, Frank made his colleagues suspicious and contacted Harvard to check on Frank’s academic history. He quickly quit his job after 8 months pretending to be a lawyer.
But after all, Frank’s “main occupation” has always been making fake checks. It is estimated that within about 3, 4 years, he has successfully earned more than 2 million USD in many different countries. Frank was chased by the FBI the whole time but could not be caught.
The character Frank in the movie Catch me if you can
However, becoming rich is not Frank’s only goal, he wants to be “adventurous” with his deception, live different lives, experience the most respected professions in that society. hour.
The first time the super donkey was caught was in 1969, when he was 21 years old. During a flight to France, a flight attendant – who was Frank’s ex-girlfriend while living as a pilot recognized him and informed the police. Frank spent a year in prison in France before being sent back to the US by authorities to face trial.
Miraculously, Frank didn’t face that trial. The criminal slipped off the plane after landing. He then took a train to Montreal, with the intention of flying out of Canada and fleeing to Brazil. But this time Frank wasn’t as lucky as before and was caught by the police in Montreal. Upon returning home, Frank received a 12-year prison sentence for forgery and bank fraud.
Very happy ending
Frank didn’t have to carry out his 12-year sentence. After only 5 years, he was pardoned with a special condition that can be considered unprecedented, that is, to work for the FBI itself – the unit that was once deceived by Frank for nothing.
Released from prison, Frank returned to his salary and settled in Texas. The man got a very good job, working as a security consultant for banks because of his previous fraud experience. Frank later continued with his wife to start a security company called Abagnale, cooperated with the FBI for another 40 years and was even invited to teach at the FBI Academy. Even more interesting, in his memoirs, Frank said he became close friends with the agent who arrested him, Joseph Shea.
In 2015, Frank was named an AARP Fraud Tracking Ambassador. Now in his old age, he has become a speaker, autobiographer and regularly participates in anti-fraud projects.
But the story here is not over yet. In the past few years, the so wonderful life of Frank Abagnale has suddenly been turned upside down. Some people put the “conspiracy theory” that everything he told was just a hoax. Right or wrong is not clear, but if so, Frank is still a super trick in another way, that is fooling a famous Hollywood film crew and millions of people who have admired his special “talent” throughout the past few decades.
Frank next to Leonardo Dicaprio – who played him in the hit Hollywood movie
Source: All That Interesting