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Catch Me If You Can’s Frank Abagnale Jr ‘lied' about his lifetime of lies

Catch Me If You Can’s Frank Abagnale Jr ‘lied' about his lifetime of lies

Who knows what's real anymore?

You probably know the name Frank Abagnale Jr best from the hit 2002 film Catch Me If You Can starring Leonardo DiCaprio.

The film was supposedly based on the true story of a conman of the same name who, in his bestselling memoir, claimed that he had impersonated a pilot, a doctor, a lawyer, and a professor, and cashed over 17,000 bogus checks amounting a $2.5 million.

What made the film so fantastic was the fact that it was a true story; someone really did manage to pull the wool over everyone's eyes and steal millions of dollars, only to repay his debt to society and become an advisor for the FBI through his company Abagnale and Associates - or so we all thought.

A new report from the New York Post claims that Frank Abagnale Jr actually 'lied' about his 'lifetime of lies'.

Frank had always been the first to tell his story of a life of cons and deceit, whether it was at speaking gigs, on talk shows, or in his best-selling memoir.

In his book, Frank claimed that, between ages 16 and 21, he impersonated a Pan Am pilot.

He also claims that he posed as a doctor in Marietta Georgia, and a lawyer in the attorney general's office in Louisiana, and as a sociology professor at Utah's Brigham Young University.

And most of us believed that to be true.

A new report claims Frank Abagnale Jr 'lied' about his lifetime of lies.
Abaca Press / Alamy Stock Photo

But after attending one of Abagnale's talks back in 1981 about turning his life around, Jim Keith didn't believe a word he said. So he decided to do some digging.

He spoke to author Abby Ellin, who wrote the 2019 book Duped about serial liars.

Keith told Ellin that he couldn't let go of the fact that Abagnale was essentially lying about his lies.

As his daughter put it to the Post: "Like a dog with a bone... he was determined to show this guy was a fraud."

So Keith teamed up with a former border patrol officer and professor of criminal justice called William Toney.

Between them, they gathered a file of documents, from court documents to letters from airlines, universities, and government sources, to newspaper clippings.

They reportedly found that a small portion of what Abagnale claimed was true.

According to about 87 pages of evidence, Frank Abagnale Jr did forge checks, he did impersonate a pilot, and he did escape jail.

But a lot of his claims were 'inaccurate, misleading, exaggerated, or totally false' according to Keith.

Leonardo DiCaprio in Catch Me if You Can.
Dreamworks Pictures

He also allegedly found that Abagnale's supposed impersonations of a university professor, a lawyer and a member of the US Senate Judiciary Committee never happened.

Not only that, but he couldn't have done all that con work between ages 16 and 21, since he apparently spend most of those years in prison.

And if that's the case, then there's no way he could have cashed $2.5 million worth of checks.

Keith and Toney weren't the only ones to uncover this either.

In Alan C. Logan's book The Greatest Hoax on Earth, he writes: “The time [Abagnale] wasn’t in some prison or jail amounts to about 14 months. Cashing 17,000 checks in that period is 40 checks per day.”

AARP, where Abagnale was a co-host on their Perfect Scam podcast, told The New York Post that he was 'no longer associated' with their company.

Not only that, but on the AARP website, an article published in July 2022 claims that 'many of [Abagnale's] tales have since been debunked'.

UNILAD has approached representatives of Frank Abagnale for comment.

Featured Image Credit: UPI / Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy Stock Photo

Topics: US News, News