Frank W. Abagnale, the bestselling author and subject of the film Catch Me If You Can, shared his story at Clarkson University’s 2016 Alumni Reunion Weekend.
A renowned cybersecurity and fraud prevention expert, Abagnale is one of the world’s most respected authorities on forgery, embezzlement and secure documents. For more than 40 years he has worked with, advised and consulted with hundreds of financial institutions, corporations and government agencies around the world.
Abagnale’s blend of knowledge and expertise began more than 45 years ago when he was known as one of the world’s most famous confidence men. His bestselling autobiography, Catch Me If You Can, was adapted into the 2002 Academy Award-nominated film, in which Abagnale was portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio. A Broadway musical of the same name also won a Tony Award in 2011.
Apprehended by the French police when he was 21 years old, he served time in the French, Swedish and U.S. prison systems. After five years, he was released on the condition that he would help the federal government — without remuneration — by teaching and assisting federal law enforcement agencies.
Abagnale has now been associated with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for more than four decades. More than 14,000 financial institutions, corporations and law enforcement agencies use his fraud prevention programs. In 1998, he was selected as a distinguished member of Pinnacle 400 by CNN Financial News — a select group of 400 people chosen on the basis of great accomplishment and success in their fields.
In 2004, Abagnale was selected as the spokesperson for the National Association of Insurance Commissioners and the National Cyber Security Alliance. He has also written numerous articles and books, including The Art of the Steal, The Real U Guide to Identity Theft and Stealing Your Life.