“Most have never met me, but they all told my story from their point of view,” said Frank Abagnale, FBI consultant and subject of the book and film, "Catch Me if You Can," depicting his brief career as a check forger and confidence man who successfully posed as an airline pilot, lawyer and surgeon. Then he was caught, convicted, served years in prison and eventually won partial release to consult as an insider white-collar crime expert for the FBI.
“It has been reported that I had written $10 million, $8 million and $5 million worth of bad checks,” Abagnale told attendees of his presentations at the 2016 Yokogawa Users Conference this week in Orlando. “The actual amount was $2.5 million.” He committed his crimes between the ages of 16 and 21, and served time in prison in France, Sweden and the United States. Now, “I have been married for over 25 years and I am the proud father of three sons,” he said. “We all grow up. Hopefully, we get wiser. Age brings wisdom and fatherhood changes one's life completely. I consider my past immoral, unethical and illegal. It is something I am not proud of. I am proud that I have been able to turn my life around and in the past 25 years, helped my government, my clients, thousands of corporations and consumers deal with the problems of white collar crime and fraud.”
October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, so this time of year Abagnale is particularly busy, giving presentations at employee gatherings of large banking and insurance companies. “I’m there to tell them the most important part of their job is cyber security,” he said. “When I arrive, I park in the employee lot and strew around some USB drives marked ‘confidential.’ The drives have software that allows me to track them, and invariably, by the time I’m presenting, several have been opened. I tell them it was a test, and they failed.