The con artist portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the 2002 film Catch Me If You Can is Frank Abagnale. He is a convicted felon who was notorious for claiming that he worked as a physician, police officer, and pilot without any qualifications. As of 2022, Frank Abagnale has a net worth of $10 million.
Frank William Abagnale Jr. was born on April 27, 1948, to a French mother and an Italian father. He grew up in the Bronx, New York. His parents divorced when he was 15, and he had to move with his father to Mount Vernon, New York.
This was when he started to get involved in crime. He began his criminal spree by using his dad’s gas credit card and persuading gas station employees to pay him a percentage of his sale in cash.
When he was caught, he was sent to a Westchester County reform school. At 16, he signed up for the US Navy but was sent back home shortly after because of forgery.
Life of Crime
With an IQ of 140, Abagnale went on to write false checks and impersonate different people. He acted as a pilot but was later caught in France. In 1970, Frank was deported back to the US. He then went to the University of Arizona and pretended to be a physician and pilot.
He created a fictional program for female students that wanted to be flight attendants. He caught the FBI’s attention when he forged Pan American World Airways payroll checks. He was sentenced to ten years in prison, but two years were added when he tried to escape.
After his release, no employers wanted him, so he posed as a pilot once more. He applied at various establishments and also pretended that he used to work as a police officer. But around this time, he had a family, and he wanted to change his life.
After impersonating multiple people and forging checks worth $2.5 million, the con man made the decision to give up his criminal life. He made public speeches confessing his past mistakes.
He allegedly worked undercover for the FBI for about 30 years. But now, he is focused on Abagnale & Associates, a consulting firm made to teach others how to avoid frauds. One of his advice is to avoid using debit cards and only use credit cards.
Frank also authored the book, ‘Catch Me If You Can’ in 1980. In 2002, it was adapted into a film by Steven Spielberg. However, Abagnale revealed that some parts of the story were exaggerated. Also, a book that was published by Alan Logan, claims a lost of Abagnale’s story is fabricated.
Net Worth and Earnings
With his reputation, Frank Abagnale has been invited to appear in several media outlets. He has also earned significant income from his published book and the film that followed it.
However, his primary income stream today is his consulting company, Abagnale & Associates. After shifting his life and career, Frank now has a fortune of $10 million.
The primary reason he quit the life of crime is his family. Abagnale is married to a woman named Kelly. The couple has three sons: Sean, Chris, and Scott.