Real "Catch Me If You Can" Character Visits MU

6 years 11 months 1 week ago Wednesday, September 12 2012 Sep 12, 2012 Wednesday, September 12, 2012 4:52:00 PM CDT September 12, 2012 in News
By: Meghann Mollerus
loading

COLUMBIA - Renowned impersonator and former convicted felon Frank Abagnale is not only out of federal prison, but more importantly, out of trouble he said Wednesday while visiting the University of Missouri and talking about his book on which the movie of the same name is based, Catch Me If You Can. The film featured Leonardo DiCaprio as Abagnale and Tom Hanks as the FBI agent who pursued him.

The book details Abagnale's life as a runaway and infamous impersonator who managed to clinch jobs by lying about his age and later landed himself a prison stint before being hired by the FBI to assist the agency in uncovering fraud schemes.

"It all started when I was standing in a courtroom at 16 with with my mother on one side and my father on the other and the judge telling me I had to choose which one to live with. So instead, I turned and ran out to the courtroom. It was a matter of not wanting to make that choice...and then realizing once you ran away, you had to support yourself and find a way to survive. I was a little more creative than most people."

That's because Abagnale left home at 16 and used his creativity and knowledge of the stationery business to alter the age on his driver's license.  While writing bad checks and continuously making fake IDs, Abagnale launched an impersonation scheme, in which he first illegally obtained a pilot's license and posed as a pilot while hitching rides across the world--the "most fun" of his impersonations, he affirmed.  When Pan Am and authorities began suspecting Abagnale of fraudulent behavior, he subsequently continued to illegally obtain a series of jobs under false names.  He obtained a medical license in Georgia and conducted administrative work (but never actually practiced medicine, Abagnale reassured KOMU 8 News).  Prior to getting caught and arrested in France at the age of 21 after a former girlfriend recognized him on a "wanted" poster, Abagnale had defrauded banks of $300,000.

After serving a cumulative five years in prison in three countries, the FBI hired 26-year-old Abagnale to work as an expert authority of document fraud and forgery, check swindling and embezzlement. To this day, Abagnale said he still conducts work for the agency.  He also said he also became long-time friends with the authority who actively pursued him during his scheme.

"People look at my life and think it was very exciting, but in a way, it was a very lonely life because I had nobody to confide in. Everybody I met believed me to be someone I wasn't...older than I really was, so I never got to go to a senior prom or high school football game or do any of those things. I had to grow up very quickly. I was always smart enough to know I'd get caught, but it was just a matter of time that they were gonna catch me. It wasn't a great life. Even though I know where it brought me today, I wouldn't want to live that over again."

Abagnale, now 64, has been married for more than 30 years and has three children, one of whom is an FBI agent.  Frequently touring, he said he visits a few colleges each year, but primarily tailors his presentations to financial institutions.  He recently has been on a U.S. Bank tour in which he has been speaking to corporate customers about fraud.

"When I go out to a college, it's usually to speak about ethics or talk about my life...it's a different pace from the normal speaking I do, so I kind of enjoy doing that. The kids love the movie, and they love the stories. I get a great turnout..." Abagnale said.

His 7:30 p.m. event at Jesse Hall Auditorium is free for MU students and $10 for the public.  Abagnale said he plans for a question and answer session following the presentation, which he said he eagerly is anticipating. 

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY (AP)— Two former state lawmakers have been appointed to the Missouri commission that regulates casinos, fantasy sports... More >>
3 hours ago Saturday, August 24 2019 Aug 24, 2019 Saturday, August 24, 2019 4:35:00 AM CDT August 24, 2019 in News
ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis police and the U.S. Marshals Service have found and taken into custody two people... More >>
12 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 7:22:00 PM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - A scare over a recent Facebook threat has a neighborhood rethinking the safety of their children. ... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 3:43:00 PM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Forty-five cats, two birds, and three dogs are currently being housed at the Central Humane Society after a... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 3:36:00 PM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
FULTON – Students at Westminster College are getting some high tech help from the school: free iPads and Apple Pencils.... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 2:48:00 PM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA- People in Boone and Callaway Counties have been receiving calls from people saying they need to pay money for... More >>
17 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 2:31:00 PM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - A tweet with video showing what appears to someone throwing something at a downtown church prompted police to... More >>
17 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 2:18:00 PM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY- Gov. Mike Parson tweeted about a big campaign announcement on his personal Twitter account Friday. ... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 1:19:00 PM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri’s top election official is firing back after abortion-rights advocates sued him for allegedly impeding... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 10:47:00 AM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Cole County Prosecutor's Office added new charges to the case of a man accused of stabbing... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 7:49:00 AM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Animal control officers, helped by Columbia police, removed dozens of animals from a home on August 21. ... More >>
1 day ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 7:06:00 AM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Pride is coming to Rose Music Hall Saturday. The free event kicks off at 1 p.m. with... More >>
1 day ago Friday, August 23 2019 Aug 23, 2019 Friday, August 23, 2019 4:30:00 AM CDT August 23, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA — The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services is encouraging at-risk people to get vaccinated for hepatitis A... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 22 2019 Aug 22, 2019 Thursday, August 22, 2019 9:20:00 PM CDT August 22, 2019 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Three months ago today, Jefferson City was hit by a tornado that ran from 54 Highway and... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 22 2019 Aug 22, 2019 Thursday, August 22, 2019 6:46:00 PM CDT August 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - An incident at a Columbia Walmart Thursday afternoon that left shoppers fearing an active threat turned out to... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 22 2019 Aug 22, 2019 Thursday, August 22, 2019 6:05:00 PM CDT August 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA (AP) — Abortion-rights advocates on Thursday sued Missouri's top election official, alleging his actions and state laws denied them... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 22 2019 Aug 22, 2019 Thursday, August 22, 2019 4:02:00 PM CDT August 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - MU is offering grief counseling to any student, faculty or staff member after a student died on Wednesday.... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 22 2019 Aug 22, 2019 Thursday, August 22, 2019 3:31:00 PM CDT August 22, 2019 in News
COLUMBIA - Missouri and several other states across the country are combating a shortage of veterinarians who are qualified to... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 22 2019 Aug 22, 2019 Thursday, August 22, 2019 2:30:00 PM CDT August 22, 2019 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 62°
8am 65°
9am 68°
10am 71°
11am 74°