He posed as a doctor, a pilot and a lawyer without any training and got away with it. But he'll appear simply as himself to keynote an upcoming security conference.
Frank Abagnale, whose life story was depicted in the film Catch Me If You Can, has signed up to keynote the RSA Conference Europe, taking place in London in October.
Within a five-year period, starting when he was 16 years old, Abagnale cemented his reputation as a famous confidence man. He cashed over $2.5m in fake cheques and illegitimately worked in a variety of professions, including college professor and paediatrician.
Abagnale got caught in France when he was 21 and was released after five years in prison on the condition that he teach and assist law-enforcement agencies without pay.
Since then, for more than 25 years, Abagnale has served as an associate with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation, conducting lectures about forgery and embezzlement for trainees. He has also developed technology used by banks and businesses to help prevent cheque fraud. His security procedures and educational programmes are used by thousands of companies and law-enforcement agencies.
In a statement on Abagnale's website, he says that the book and the film, which starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, exaggerated the facts of his life. He also said he regrets his past life of crime. "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," he wrote.
The RSA Conference is an information security meeting that takes place several times each year in different locations, including San Francisco, London and Japan. The London event will occur on 22 – 24 October 22.