Catch Me If You Can conman reported to have ‘lied’ about his lifetime of lies
By Jack Peat
Frank Abagnale Jr was famously portrayed onscreen by Leonardo DiCaprio.
The conman who was portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie Catch Me If You Can lied about his lifetime of lies, a new report claims.
The New York Post suggests that a lot of Frank Abagnale Jr's tales about impersonating pilots, doctors and lawyers, as well as cashing in over 17,000 bogus checks amounting a $2.5 million, are untrue.
Abagnale has made quite the name for himself after becoming the lead figure of a best-selling memoir about him that was later Hollywoodised into a namesake film. On top of this, he has also cashed in from speaking gigs and on talk shows.
Yet, after seeing one of Abagnale’s talks in 1981 about turning his life around, Jim Keith did not believe much of what was said. As such, he decided to look into his claims.
He later spoke to author Abby Ellin, who wrote the 2019 book Duped about serial liars, and told her that he could not let go of his beliefs about Abagnale.
As Keith's daughter told The New York Post: “Like a dog with a bone, he was determined to show this guy was a fraud.”
Keith wound up joining forces with a former border patrol officer and professor of criminal justice named William Toney. The pair gathered a file of documents, including court documents; letters from airlines and universities; information from government sources; and newspaper clippings.
They are reported to have discovered that only a small amount of what Abagnale claimed was true.
An 87-page dossier of evidence suggests Frank Abagnale Jr did forge checks, impersonate a pilot and escape jail. However, many of his claims were deemed to be “inaccurate, misleading, exaggerated, or totally false”, Keith states.
Keith is alleged to have found that Abagnale’s supposed impersonations of a university professor, a lawyer and a member of the US Senate Judiciary Committee never happened.
On top of that, he could not have reportedly done all that con work between the ages of 16 and 21, as he apparently spent most of those years in prison.