Frank Abagnale Jr STORY?

My girfriend wants me to watch the movie Catch me if you can. The film tells the story of Frank Abagnale Jr, a con artist.
Before I watch it I'd like to know more about Frank Abagnale Jr's story and his life. Can anyone summarize the story for me?
What is Frank Abagnale Jr doing today and why is he not in jail?

asked by Bailey in Movies | 6678 views | 11-02-2009 at 01:40 PM

Frank Abagnale
Frank William Abagnale, Jr. (born April 27, 1948) is an American security consultant, and former check confidence trickster, forger and impostor. He became infamous in the 1960s for passing bad checks worth about $2.5 million in 26 countries over the course of 5 years. During this time, he used at least eight aliases to cash bad checks.

Abagnale’s life story provided the inspiration for the feature film Catch Me if You Can, based on his ghostwritten biography of the same name. As of 2009 he runs Abagnale and Associates, a financial fraud consultancy company.


Abagnale was born the 3rd of four children and spent the first sixteen years of his life in New York’s Bronxville. His mother and father divorced when he was 12, and afterwards he would be the only child of whom his father would gain custody. His father did not necessarily want him, but in order to reunite his family he would attempt to win his mother back until his death in 1974. His father was also an affluent local business man who was very keen on politics, and was a major role model for Abagnale Jr.

First Con

His first victim was his father.

His father gave him a 1952 Ford truck, and once Frank Jr began to take a notice of girls, he could not stop spending money on them. In order to fund his exploits with the opposite sex, he asked his father for a credit card to charge gas on, since he was always short on cash. He began to make deals with gas station employees all around the New York area to falsely charge items to his card, then give him a portion of the money; in return the employee got to keep the item and “resell” it for the full price. Over the course of 2 months, Frank Jr “bought” the following items for his vehicle:

* 14 sets of tires
* 22 batteries
* large quantities of gasoline

The bill totaled up to $3,400, which his father discovered only after a debt collector contacted him in person, as Frank Jr was throwing away the bills that came in the mail. When confronting his son, Frank Sr wasn’t so worried about the expenses he’d accumulated, but rather that his son replied, “It’s the girls dad, they do funny things to me. I can’t explain it.” This libido and greed-tainted response set the tone of his life until his imprisonment.

Bank fraud

Abagnale’s first confidence trick was writing personal checks on his own overdrawn account, an activity which he discovered was possible when he wrote checks for more money than was in the account. This, however, would only work for a limited time before the bank demanded payment, so he moved on to opening other accounts in different banks, eventually creating new identities to sustain this charade. Over time, he experimented and developed different ways of defrauding banks, such as printing out his own almost-perfect copies of checks, depositing them and persuading banks to advance him cash on the basis of money in his accounts. The money, of course, never materialized as the checks deposited in it were rejected.

One of Abagnale’s famous tricks was to print his account number on blank deposit slips and add them to the stack of real blank slips in the bank. This meant that the deposits written on those slips by bank customers ended up going into his account rather than that of the legitimate customers. He took in over $40,000 by this method before he was discovered. By the time the bank began looking into his case, Abagnale had collected all the money and had already changed his identity.

answered by Dinasty | 11-02-2009 at 01:43 PM

Watch the movie, it is very good. Frank himself helped to make the movie.

Eventually he was caught in France in 1969 when an Air France attendant whom he had dated in the past recognized him and notified the police. When the French police apprehended him, 12 of the countries in which he had committed fraud sought his extradition. After a two-day trial, he first served prison time in Perpignan's House of Arrest in France—a one-year sentence that was reduced by the presiding judge at his trial to six months. His stay in Perpignan left him fearful of spending more time in another version of the prison.

He was then extradited to Sweden where he was treated fairly well under Swedish law. During trial for forgery, his defense attorney almost had his case dismissed by arguing that he had "created" the fake checks and not forged them, but his charges were instead reduced to swindling and fraud. He served six months in a Malmö prison, only to learn at the end of it he would be tried next in Italy. Later, a Swedish judge asked a U.S. State Department official to revoke his passport. Without a valid passport Swedish authorities were legally compelled to deport him to the U.S., where he was sentenced to 12 years in a federal prison for multiple counts of forgery.

answered by Dinasty | 11-02-2009 at 01:45 PM

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