Catch Abagnale Jr at Jesse Hall

Brett Stover

Used under Fair Use Doctrine. Credit: stufftodo.missouri.edu

Frank W. Abagnale Jr, on whose life the 2002 movie Catch Me If You Can is based, will speak at Jesse Hall in Columbia on Wednesday, Sept. 12.
At age 16, Abagnale ran away from home and began a crime spree across 26 countries over the span of five years. He passed around $2.5 million in carefully forged checks and assumed eight fake identities.
He was caught when he was 21 and served six months in a French prison and the same amount of time in a Swedish prison before returning to the United States. Here, he was sentenced to 12 years, but Abagnale was released after only five years and began helping the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He now owns the financial fraud consultancy company, Abagnale and Associates.
Sophomore Jilly Dos Santos said she is familiar with Abagnale’s story and is impressed with Columbia’s ability to lure top speakers if, for no other reason, “the opportunity of it.”
“I mean, here’s this man who was one of the world’s greatest con artists, and when he’s caught he totally uses it to his advantage,” she said. “That is a guy I want to hear talk, but at the same time I may have to take it [what he says] with a grain of salt.” Still, Dos Santos said she is “not seriously worried about him lying.”
Tickets cost $10. Delta Gamma Foundation Lectureship on Values and Ethics Speaker is bringing Abagnale to the campus.
As two-time Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks, who co-starred in Catch Me If You Can with Leonardo DiCaprio, said “Abagnale’s lecture may be the best one man show you will ever see.” His quote is posted on Abagnale’s website.
By Brett Stover