Search icon


15th Mar 2023

Catch Me If You Can conman ‘lied’ about his lifetime of lies

Jack Peat

Frank Abagnale Jr, who was portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio, made most of it up!

The con man who was portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the film Catch Me If You Can lied about his lifetime of lies, it has emerged.

A new report from the New York Post suggests Frank Abagnale Jr ‘made up’ most of his tales about impersonating pilots, doctors, lawyers and cashing in over 17,000 bogus checks amounting a $2.5 million.

Frank has made quite the name for himself after becoming the lead figure of a best-selling memoir about him that was later Hollywoodised in a namesake film.

He has also cashed in from speaking gigs and on talk shows.

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 New York Post: “Like a dog with a bone… he was determined to show this guy was a fraud.”

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 only a small portion of what Abagnale claimed was true.

An 87-page dossier of evidence suggests 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.

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 spent most of those years in prison.

Talk about a letdown!

Related links: