Catch Me If You Can events reportedly made up by Frank Abagnale

Catch Me If You Can was based on Abagnale's claimed exploits as a master con man but it appears the entire movie was a con in and of itself.

A new report suggests that much of Frank Abagnale Jr.'s story was embellished.

Catch Me If You Can is a biographical crime comedy movie about the exploits of a master con artist during the 1960s. The movie, directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was based on the semi-autobiographical book of the same name. Unfortunately, while the protagonist of the movie and the book was real, sources now say that the reformed conman lied about his story.

Frank Abagnale Jr., the master con artist whose life story was the basis of the critically acclaimed movie, may have lied about the crimes he wrote about in his memoir. Abagnale claimed that he impersonated a pilot, doctor, lawyer, and professor during his younger days. He also said that he cashed in an estimated $2.5 million in forged cheques during his time as a conman.

A New York Post report suggests that Abagnale lied about his exploits to gain media attention. According to a source who investigated Abagnale, much of the conman’s story was "inaccurate, misleading, exaggerated or totally false."

Abagnale turned his life around after being arrested and sent to prison. The former conman became an advisor for the FBI on fraud prevention and cybercrime.

During his time as a con artist, Abagnale claims that he impersonated a pilot among others.

During one of his speaking engagements, Abagnale’s story caught the attention of Jim Keith, a security manager at JC Penney in St. Louis. Keith grew suspicious of the former conman’s story as it had incorrect "technical information regarding bad checks."

Keith said, "We walked away with a sick feeling that we and those students were sold a bill of worthless goods."

Keith teamed up with a border patrol officer and a professor of criminal justice to investigate and validate Abagnale’s story. The group found out that some of the former conman’s story were in fact true, however, others were just fabricated.

According to the investigation, Abagnale’s claims of impersonating a lawyer, a doctor, and a university professor never happened. It was also impossible for Abagnale to commit his illegal activities from age 16 to 21 as he spent most of that time in jail.

An investigation into the life of the reformed conman reveals that he never impersonated a physician, lawyer, or university professor.

The report also states that Abagnale couldn’t have cashed in 17,000 checks worth $2.5 million. Abagnale was caught after cashing in 10 fake checks for a total of just $1,448.60. He was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his crime, but only served just two years.

Abagnale issued a statement when Catch Me If You Can came out in 2002 saying that author Stan Redding "overdramatized and exaggerated some of the story … He always reminded me that he was just telling a story and not writing my biography."

Catch Me If you Can was a critical and commercial success. The movie earned two Academy Award nominations and $352 million at the box office.

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Darryl Lara

Darryl Lara // Articles: 1110

Darryl has been gaming since the early 90s, loves to read books and watch TV. He spends his free time outside of gaming and books by riding his motorcycle and taking photographs. You can find Darryl on Instagram. Check him out on Steam and Xbox too.
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