Thursday, December 20th, 2012
Frank Abagnale was a criminal who pretended to be a pilot, a paediatrician and a lawyer. He is most remembered for his efforts in evading the FBI, and his fraudulent activities that led him to become a millionaire before the age of 20. Though hardly any information is documented about his trials across the globe, Abagnale served minimal prison time in the United States, and was later hired by the FBI to educate others of his methods and thus strengthening the FBI’s fraud prevention units. Abagnale is now a millionaire by his own means, operating a company where he speaks as a guest for government agencies and has developed methods of preventing check fraud. Frank, the child:
Growing up in the Bronx of New York during the '50's and early 60's, Frank’s criminal drive began early in his teen years. After watching the deterioration of his parent’s marriage, which ended in divorce, Frank moved in and out between his parent’s separate homes but ultimately preferred to live with his father. In his book, Catch Me if You Can, Abagnale explains the determination of his mother to move on from her past life, and the same will of his father to hold on. He recalls memories of his father using him as a tool to relay loving messages to his mother, in hopes of winning her back. However, Paulette Abagnale was happy with her new life, and had no intention of revisiting the past. His mother enrolled into college, planning on becoming a dental technician. His father’s homemade business fell from its great success, a blow that Abagnale blames himself for:
At the age of fifteen, Abagnale began using his father’s credit card, convincing gas stations employees to charge him for a set of tires, but instead of actually putting them on his car, he would pocket some of the money. This allowed the automotive companies to make a profit because they would have an extra set of tires that they could sell. His scheme fell apart when, after hitting nearly all of the gas stations that would accept the card in the Bronx, the credit card bill came in about a month later. His dad was forced to pay $3,400, and when Frank was asked by his father for why he had spent so much money, he responded by saying “It’s the girls, Dad, they do funny things to me. I can’t explain it”
These were the words of a fifteen year old boy, who not only was a petty con artist but perhaps the youngest playboy in the state of New York. Abagnale loved women, and he indirectly blames them for his drive and he initially started stealing money. The runaway:
When Frank was just 16, he ran away from his home with only $200. He left behind no word of where he was heading, but he was determined to escape from the back and forth world of his parents. He fled to New York city, and took to the home of a boy he met in the street. It wasn't long before Abagnale began over drawing from his bank account with checks written in his name. Eventually, after forging his driver's licence to appear 10 years older, Abagnale decided he needed a cover up. He found it when he witnessed the glamorous life of airline pilots and stewardesses. This life of class, elegance, and reward appealed greatly to Abagnale and set him on his next venture in the con world. The Pilot:
Abagnale was captivated by trim life of Airline crews. He love the attention they got as they walked down the street, and he loved the perks (hotels, food, girls, and privilege to name a few). He was determined to become part of the life he so admired and went to great lengths to achieve that goal: • First: He lied to Pan Am, explaining that he had lost his Pilot's suit and desperately needed a new one because he had a departing flight that evening. • Second: He was directed to a uniform store where he successfully purchased a co-pilots uniform under company...