The Daily Grifter is a periodical that will blow your mind by delivering Stories, Articles and Awareness Posts about the most notorious modern day and past Grifters (Con-Men) and Scams. You will not only read about today's Cons and Con Men, but also the infamous ones who have sealed their names forever in the Grifter Hall of Shame.

Walmart Gift Card Thief Gets 10 Years

Our long national nightmare is over: The Wal-Mart gift card thief is behind bars.

Timothy Truong was sentenced to 10 years in prison Tuesday for a gift card scheme that spanned more than a decade, according to the Sacramento Bee.
Truong stole gift cards, copied their electronic data, manufactured duplicate cards, and returned the cards to the store. A computer database would alert Truong when the legitimate cards had been activated, and he would then swoop in and use his duplicate cards on merchandise before customers had a chance to use theirs.

Truong ran this scam at Lowe's, Borders, and Safeway, but was apprehended two years ago at a California Wal-Mart.

At the time he'd already been convicted of gift card hijackings in Nevada, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and Utah, for incidents dating back to 1992. He was also facing charges in New Jersey.

Security personnel recognized Truong when he arrived at the Yuba City Wal-Mart, and called police. Truong escaped to his SUV and a chase ensued, but Truong eventually crashed his vehicle into two other cars. He then fled to another store, where he punched a customer, but was eventually subdued and arrested. He has been in jail ever since.

In Truong's SUV, police found more than 3,800 gift cards, two laptop computers and an electronic card reader, a card printer, acetone, maps marked with locations of Wal-Mart, Lowe's and Borders stores, 4,000 gift card numbers, and recently purchased merchandise.

The Modern Con Man: How to Get Something for Nothing
LRG The Pros and Cons Thermal Zip Up Hoody,Sweatshirts for Men, Small,Black
So Dark the Con of Man
The Big Con: The Story of the Confidence Man
I'm a Con Man I'm a Thief

Lou "The Fixer" Blonger

Louis H. "The Fixer" Blonger, who would become one of the leaders of the longest running confidence rings in the American West, started his life on May 13, 1849 in Swanton, Vermont. When the boy was just five, the family moved to the lead mining village of Shullsburg, Wisconsin. When the Civil War  broke out "Lou” was just 15, but enlisted in the Union Army. He soon found himself playing a musical instrument called a fife, helping to keep the marching pace of the soldiers. A Fifer was a common job of those boys who were too young to fight.

After the war, the fast-talking Lou joined up with his older brother Sam and the pair moved westward, hoping to make their fortunes in the many mining camps of Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. For the next two decades they moved from camp to camp taking various jobs working in saloons and mines, while doing a little prospecting, plenty of gambling, and practicing a number of con games in cities across the West -- from Deadwood, South Dakota; to Silver City, New Mexico; to San Francisco, California.

During their vast travels, they reportedly met many of the more famous Old West personalities such as Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson, and the Earp brothers. For a short time the Lou and Sam even served as lawmen in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where they were said to have provided protection for Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp after their infamous Earp Vendetta Ride.

By the 1880’s the brothers had settled in Denver, Colorado, where they were running a saloon on Larimer Street and later on Stout Street. By the 1890’s, the Blonger Brothers had become wealthy men from investments in mining claims and profits from their popular Denver saloons, which catered to gamblers and also provided "painted ladies” for their customers. They had also pocketed a significant amount of money from their various games of fraud and graft practiced on many a hapless miner.

While in Denver, they practiced their cons widely, competing heavily with the already established Soapy Smith Gang. Eventually they took over control as the king-pins of the Denver underworld and when Soapy Smith moved on in 1896, they consolidated the city’s competing gangs of confidence men into a single organization.

Operating their "business” as a "big store" con, or fake betting house, central facilities were established complete with betting windows, chalkboards for race results, and ticker-tape machines. Here, the gang members would convince unsuspecting customers to put up large sums of cash in order to secure delivery of promised stock profits or winning bets on horse races. It was this practice that is portrayed in the movie, The Sting.  Additionally, Lou had a number of men working for him that profited as pickpockets, shell-game experts, and a number of other small time con games. Lou's operation was so tight, that no one was able to operate in the city without gaining his permission and "donating” a share of their proceeds.

Continuing to wield their power, the Blonger Brothers influenced elections and political appointments in  order to protect their racket and shield their gang members from prosecution.

In 1904, a man named Adolph W. "Kid” Duff became Blonger's second-in-command. Duff was an experienced hand, having long been a member of several other Colorado gangs and well known as a gambler, opium dealer and pickpocket. Together, the pair increased the profits of the "organization.”

By 1920, Lou Blonger had grown so powerful that many said he "owned” the city of Denver and was, by that time, able to fix any arrest with a phone call and was making thousands of illegal dollars a year in his extensive confidence games. Lou even had a private telephone line in his office which ran directly to the chief of police.

Though his success went on for decades, it would finally end in 1922 when District Attorney Philip S. Van Cise circumvented the corrupt Denver politicians and established his own "secret force” of local citizens. Funded by private donations, Van Cise’s men were able to arrest 33 confidence men, including Louis Blonger and "Kid” Duff.   

A highly publicized trial followed, where Louis Blonger and many of the other gang members were convicted and sentenced to prison at Cañon City, Colorado. Both Lou Blonger and "Kid” Duff received sentences for 7 to 10 years. Just five months after going to prison, Blonger died on April 20, 1924 at the age of 74. Duff, in the meantime, was out on bond pending another court case and committed suicide.  Lou’s older brother Sam had died some ten years earlier.

Downtown Denver in 1895

Canon City Prison courtesy Colorado Prison Museum

Burials in Colorado: Burials in Fairmount Cemetery (Denver, Colorado), Lou Blonger, Ray Bridwell White, William Byers, Henry White Warren
The Fixer
The Fixer and Other Stories
The Fixer - Series One - 2-DVD Set ( The Fixer - Entire Series 1 ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.2 Import - Great Britain ]

Jean Henri Latude : "Masers de Latude"

Jean Henri Latude, often called Danry or Masers de Latude (23 March 17251 January 1805) was famous both as a prisoner of the Bastille and for his escapes therefrom.

He was born at Montagnac in Gascony. He received a military education and went to Paris in 1748 to study mathematics. He led a dissipated life and endeavoured to curry favor with the marquise de Pompadour by secretly sending her a box of poison and then informing her of the supposed plot against her life. The ruse was discovered, and Mme de Pompadour, not appreciating the humour of the situation, had Latude put in the Bastille on 1 May 1749.

He was later transferred to Vincennes, whence he escaped in 1750. Retaken and reimprisoned in the Bastille, he made a second brief escape in 1756. He was transferred to Vincennes in 1764, and the next year made a third escape and was a third time recaptured. He was put in a madhouse by Malesherbes in 1775, and discharged in 1777 on condition that he should retire to his native town.

He remained in Paris and was again imprisoned. A certain Mme Legros became interested in him through chance reading of one of his memoirs, and, by a vigorous agitation in his behalf, secured his definite release in 1784. He exploited his long captivity with considerable ability, posing as a brave officer, a son of the marquis de la Tude, and a victim of Pompadour's intrigues. He was extolled and pensioned during the Revolution, and in 1793 the convention compelled the heirs of Mme de Pompadour to pay him 60,000 francs damages. He died in obscurity at Paris in 1805.

The principal work of Latude is the account of his imprisonment, written in collaboration with an advocate named Thiry, and entitled "Le Despotisme dévoilé, ou Mémoires de Henri Masers de la Tude, détenu pendant trente-cinq ans dans les diverses prisons d'état" (Amsterdam, 1787, ed. Paris, 1889). An English translation of a portion was published in 1787. The work is full of lies and misrepresentations, but had great vogue at the time of the French Revolution. Latude also wrote essays on all sorts of subjects.

Jean-Henri Masers de Latude (1725-1805), ou, Le fou de la liberte: Enquete historique et psychologique (French Edition)
Jean-Henri Chevalier de Latude, 1789 Giclee Poster Print by Antoine Vestier, 18x24
Der Enthüllte Despotismus Der Französischen Regierung, Oder, Merkwürdige Geschichte Des Herrn Von Latüde: Während Seiner Unverdienten 35 Jährigen Gefangenschaft ... Staatsgefängnissen (German Edition)
The Life of Henri Masers De Latude, Who Was Imprisoned Thirty-five Years. To which is added some account of the Bastille.

Gregor MacGregor : The Prince of Poyais

The tall uniformed figure with bushy whiskers cut an impressive figure as his ship sailed into Britain. Alongside him was his beautiful wife, niece of one of the world’s most famous men, and together they promised to be one of the most glamorous of couples in high society.
But Gregor MacGregor, a descendant of Rob Roy, was intent on far more than glamour or fame.

The year was 1820 and MacGregor a lauded war hero for his exploits in South America, had hatched one of the most daring frauds of all time.

His plan was simple but audacious: to invent an entire kingdom, people, capital city; civil service and currency, and persuade people to buy land and shares In the venture.

And they did, in their thousands. Many Scots lost their entire fortunes. Many others lost their lives. But not before the self-styled ‘Prince’ Gregor MacGregor had dazzled London and Edinburgh society - before being unmasked as the only fraudster in British criminal history to sell shares and land in a non-existent country.

MacGregor was born on Christmas Eve 1786, the grandson of Gregor the Beautiful, the clan chief. But Scotland could not contain the headstrong MacGregor, who served in the Peninsula war in Spain before leaving Europe in 1811 to fight the Spanish in South America.

It was here he met the Liberator of Latin America, Simon Bolivar who was hugely impressed by the Scotsman’s energy; bravery and skill as a military leader, and eventually promoted him to general. The handsome adventurer was later permitted to marry Bolivar’s attractive niece, Josefa.

MacGregor’s fame as a military man and his exploits were known to a British public eager to lap up news of the exotic Spanish Americas.

But fame did not guarantee wealth, and coming from a family with more history than money, it was the lure of riches that drove the increasingly impatient MacGregor. From 1817 to 1820, he lived the life of a pirate, attacking Spanish strongholds in the Caribbean and up the coast of Florida, then still in Spanish hands. His exploits included capturing and occupying Amelia Island off Florida in 1817, backed by a motley ‘army’ of young boys and toothless old men.

MacGregor's plan to sell off the land to the fledgling United States and then invade the rest of Florida came to little. Left high and dry by the failure of his supposed American allies to send reinforcements, he was forced to sell the island to a pirate acquaintance before disappearing into the Caribbean once more.

But MacGregor was never daunted. by setbacks and in 1820 he hit upon the idea which was to bring him fame, fortune and - ultimately - disgrace.

He sailed with his loyal retinue of followers to the unpromising-looking swampy part of Central America known as the Mosquito Coast. Here he befriended the local ’King’, George Frederic Augustus. At a meeting in April 1820, MacGregor plied his new friend with whisky and rum before the pair signed an extraordinary deal.

The Scotsman was to be granted more than eight million acres of land along the coast and far inland, apparently forever. In sober reflection, Frederick was to have a very different recollection of just what he’d given to MacGregor, but the deed was done. Armed with this huge area of land, MacGregor and his beautiful wife immediately set sail for Britain, where he announced himself in London with great pomp and ceremony as Gregor I, Cazique (or Chief) of Poyals, the name he had chosen for ‘his country’. Britain was just recovering from the ravages of a successful but debilitating European war. Post-war austerity gave way to a passion for gambling and fast living, personified by the outrageous dandy and gambler Beau Brummell, whose behaviour had shaped the early years of the Prince of Wales crowned George IV in 1820.

There was also a growing mania among the emerging middle classes for stocks and shares in all kinds of exotic ventures, including South America, where a credulous British public supposed all manner of treasure and riches had been abandoned by the retreating Spanish. This ensured that MacGregor’s money-making scheme was a success both in his native Scotland and in England.

His plan to make money from his ‘kingdom’ had two different approaches. One was to raise capital of £200 000 (millions in today’s money) by issuing 2,000 bearer bonds at £100 each, the other to sell land and commissions in Poyals. In this he was aided by a skilful and shameless marketing campaign promoting the virtues of what one marketeer called ‘this unsurpassed Utopia’. There were no half-measures in the hard sell. Poyals was extravagantly described as a land of cathedrals, public buildings and banks, with all the other trappings of a civilised nation. Its capital, St Joseph, was said to boast an opera house among its fine buildings. Meanwhile, the land itself was described as having unimaginable fertility and beauty, a land where gold nuggets and diamonds and pearls were as ‘plentiful as pebbles’ and where grain could grow without the need for sowing.

Such was the promotion’s success, that at least one ballad was sung in MacGregor’s praise; books and pamphlets extolled the merits of this fine new nation and an excited public clamoured to buy into this irresistible country led by its charismatic and heroic Prince. Buoyed by his success, MacGregor opened an official Poyalsian Legation to Britain in the City of London and opened land offices in Glasgow, Stirling and Edinburgh. Many poorer people, who could not afford to buy the expensive bonds, bought small parcels of land or signed up as shoemakers, shopkeepers, jewellers, teachers and clerks or other craftsmen, all with skills apparently much needed by the booming new state. MacGregor - who often referred to himself as Sir Gregor, though no one knows who bestowed the title on him — even issued his own Poyals currency and sold commissions in the nation’s army. By the end of 1822, MacGregor had assumed the status of a Sovereign Prince and the bond and land sale schemes were making him, in today’s terms, a multi-millionaire. The whole elaborate edifice however, now threatened to become a victim of its very success.

Early In 1823, two ships — the Honduras Packet and the Kinnersley Castle - set sail from Leith, bound for Poyals. On board were some 240 excited emigrants, many of them Highlanders, eager to inhabit the wonderful land they had invested in with their life’s savings and possessions. They included a Mr Gauger, a banker from the City of London who was excited at the prospect of becoming the first manager of the Bank of Poyals, and a Scottish shoemaker equally entranced at the thought that he was to be the Official Shoemaker to the Princess of Poyals.

The starry-eyed colonists were assured the only legal currency in their new home would be the Poyalsian dollar and so, before departing, they exchanged their old Scottish and English pounds for this exciting new currency. What did they care for old money from the old country anyway? A wonderful new world of plenty awaited them.

What the settlers thought when weeks later they arrived at their new home one can scarcely imagine. Indeed, it was reported that some of them insisted on sailing further up the coast, so sure were they that they had been taken to the wrong place.

But the truth soon became horribly apparent. As the hapless settlers rowed ashore a desolate, wretched scene confronted them. Standing where the towering buildings, opera house and banks of the shining capital of St Joseph were supposed to be were instead four tatty, rundown shacks, built amid the remains of a doomed British colony abandoned back in the 18th century. Where the rich fertile plains and gold nuggets were promised were instead inhospitable swampy forests, full of biting insects, venomous snakes and deadly disease.

There was no Poyalsian army, no royal family no civil service, not even one solid building. The great, prosperous nation of Poyals had all been an elaborate illusion, a heartless fraud committed on men and women from hard-working backgrounds who had dared to hope for a better life in the Americas.

The obvious next move for the settlers would have been to clamber back aboard and set sail immediately for Scotland. But their misfortunes were just beginning. Shortly after their arrival, a hurricane blew through Central America, wrecking their two ships and destroying any immediate hope of getting home. The days and weeks that followed were full of misery and tragedy. Many of the 240, who included elderly people, began to succumb to tropical diseases. Starvation set in among people who were totally unsuited for survival in tropical swamplands. The local people refused to help, scorning their Poyals currency and pointing out that their King, George Frederic, insisted the white settlers had no legal right to be there anyway.

The situation appeared hopeless. The shoemaker, who had dreamed of fame at the Poyals court, lay down in his hammock and shot himself. Others drowned trying to escape. Eventually, as starvation and disease threatened to wipe out the entire colony, they managed to send word of their plight to the British colony of Belize and a rescue mission was launched.

Out of some 240 who left Leith harbour, barely 50 made it back to their homeland. When news of the calamity in Poyals and the true story of the state of that kingdom reached Britain in August 1823, the reaction was predictable.

Quite how MacGregor had expected to get away with it once anyone arrived in his ‘paradise’ is unclear. Possibly he had planned to make an escape with his millions but was undone by the timing. Perhaps he had even begun to believe his own propaganda that such a place existed. Incredibly, MacGregor at first tried to bluff things out, blaming the Belize colony for interfering and even for the theft of Poyalsian belongings, and he tried to raise yet more money on a re-issue of the bonds.

By November the game was up. The bonds were worthless and there was growing public rage at the enormity of the fraud he had perpetrated, especially among his fellow Scots. His funds were also evaporating as he spent money on his retinue and trying to re-ignite interest in Poyals.

Late that year he, Josefa and their two small children, Gregorio and Josefa, followed the traditional route for British fraudsters, by fleeing to Boulogne in France and from there on to Paris where their third child, Constantino, was born. However, the world had still not heard the last of Gregor MacGregor and his fantasy kingdom. By 1825 he had repeated the entire hoax once again on the French public, raising thousands of pounds on the dream of Poyals. By now, though, his luck was failing him.

An associate in Paris was jailed for fraud and MacGregor himself spent some time in jail before he was released and acquitted on appeal. An impertinent return to London was ill-advised and once again he had to talk his way out of a prison sentence as angry investors sought his indictment. For some years he lived in Edinburgh, vainly trying to sell plots of land in a kingdom that didn’t exist, with land he didn’t own. However, by the time his loyal wife Josefa died in Scotland in 1838, MacGregor had become a lonely, broken man. He left Scotland quietly in 1839 to return to Venezuela, the scene of many of his epic military adventures. There at least he was treated with respect as a returning war hero and lived comfortably on a military pension until his death in 1845.

His name can still be seen on a giant monument, built in Caracas to honour Venezuela’s heroes of Independence. However, his legacy in his homeland is very different. His outrageous fraud cost more than just the livelihoods of those he fooled. It may have been a brilliant fraud by an often brilliant and courageous man, but Gregor MacGregor’s extraordinary life was overshadowed by the deaths of his poor, unfortunate victims.

Seven Guns for the MacGregors ( Sette pistole per i MacGregor ) ( Siete pistolas para los Mac Gregor ) [ NON-USA FORMAT, PAL, Reg.0 Import - Italy ]
Sir Gregor Macgregor and the Land That Never Was: The Extraordinary Story of the Most Audacious Fraud in History
1919 Antique Portrait Gregor Macgregor Cricketer
Genealogy and History of the Clan Gregor, (MacGregor) (A Searchable CD Containing the Complete Text of this Historic Bookt)
Micronational Leaders: Bertoleoni, M. P. Shiel, Gregor Macgregor, Danny Wallace, Lars Vilks, James Harden-Hickey, David Rappaport

Frank Abagnale, Jr : The Crew Comes To Life

Frank seemed almost invincible. Most everything he attempted, he succeeded in, including eluding the police and FBI. With every new plan, he perfected his techniques in con artistry, forgery and impersonation. One particular scheme he devised showed evidence of how talented he had become in his criminal trade.

Thinking of a way he could cash a multitude of checks at one time, Frank came up with an extraordinary idea. He decided that he would no longer travel alone but with an aircrew, preferably consisting of beautiful stewardesses. If he were able to find women to act as a front for him, he would be able to cash in more checks, appear more credible and avoid any suspicion.

While visiting Arizona, Frank had set up an interview with the director of student placement at the state university. During the meeting, Frank discussed the possibility of recruiting a handful of junior and senior women to act as public relations representatives purportedly for Pan Am. He further suggested that the chosen women would be given the opportunity to spend the summer traveling Europe, with all expenses allegedly paid by the company. Moreover, the girls would be supplied with stewardess uniforms and comparable salary as well as letters of employment, which would grant them opportunity to work for the airline following graduation. It appeared to be the chance of a lifetime for anyone lucky enough to be chosen. Appearances were Franks key method of deception.

The eight young women who were eventually chosen were all thrilled to have a chance to see other countries and experience to a stewardesses lifestyle. Besides, the money was exceptional considering they were being paid to have fun. They had no idea that they were merely a part of an elaborate scam. The group of women traveled to more than a dozen European countries throughout the summer, taking part in photo shoots, supposedly to be used for advertising purposes by Pan Am. The photo sessions, scheduled by Frank with commercial photography companies, had no particular relevance except to make the scam more credible to the girls.

Franks real interest was to manufacture phony Pan Am expense checks for each girl for the primary purpose of having them endorsed over to him. The sum of each check was made out for an amount significantly larger than their actual expenses. Frank paid the bills and pocketed the remaining money, making sure the women were constantly with him to make the transaction all the more convincing. By the time the summer was over and the girls returned home after having been paid for their services, Frank had pocketed approximately $300,000.

Following his audacious scam, Frank decided to slow down with the check fraud game for fear that the authorities would catch up with him. He moved to Montpellier, France, at the age of twenty, not far from where his mother was born. Frank quickly settled into his cozy new cottage, after having changed his name to Robert Monjo. To further protect his identity, he posed as a successful Hollywood screenwriter and author.

Finally, for the first time in years Frank made an attempt to live a normal life. However, he knew that the risk of being caught significantly increased if he continued to stay in one place for a prolonged period of time, but it was a chance he was willing to take. He had simply spent too long on the run and he was tired.

It was only a matter of time before the authorities caught up with Frank. In fact, they were not too far behind. 

Heading the FBI investigative team was Joseph Shea who spent years looking for Frank. In fact, it had taken years just to figure out that Frank was not an adult but actually a kid. Only four months after Frank moved to France, Shea learned of Franks location. Apparently, an ex-girlfriend who was a stewardess recognized him on a wanted poster and immediately notified the French police, who in turn contacted the FBI.

The authorities went to the small city to collect the young man who had generated so much financial havoc around the world, having passed a total of $2.5 million dollars worth of bad checks. They eventually found Frank shopping in a grocery store nearby his home. They immediately apprehended him, taking him to the Montpellier police station to be booked for his crimes committed in France. After a brief interrogation, Frank admitted to being Frank Abagnale, Jr. but refused to reveal any specific information concerning his crimes.

In less than a weeks time, Frank was tried in a French court and a couple days later found guilty on several charges, including fraud. He was sentenced to one year in the notorious prison Perpignan, but ended up serving only six months of the prison term. It was more than enough time, considering the horrific conditions of the institution.

Following his extradition to Sweden and eventually to the United States, Frank once again found himself on the run after having escaped the police and FBI on several occasions. There weren't many places left for him to hide. According to Abagnale's book, The Art of the Steal, he was apprehended a final time while hiding out in New York. He was eventually released into the custody of the FBI and tried for his crimes.

Frank was found guilty and received a sentence of twelve years. Following his sentencing, he was remanded to the Federal Correction Institution in Petersburg, Virginia. However, he was granted early parole at the age of twenty-six years, having spent a total of five years behind bars. Finally, Frank was free and had the chance to make a new beginning, although it would prove to be difficult.

Following his release, Frank worked at a series of low paying jobs, although they were mostly short-lived. Frank tried to conceal from his employers that he was an ex-con, knowing it was likely they would not hire him if they knew the truth. However his employers would eventually learn the truth and immediately fire him. After a while, Frank began to get frustrated because he knew he had talents that could be of use to somebody somewhere. He just had to find a client that would be interested in his skills and maybe in some way profit from them. He also knew he had to find a way to market himself.

Surprisingly, it was the very people that captured Frank that would offer him a second chance. The FBI and other law enforcement agencies were just the people who could gain from what he knew. They needed to know the workings of a criminal mind from first hand experience so that they could use the knowledge to better apprehend offenders. Frank began to lecture to them for free, realizing that he had to in some way repay his debt to society.

 (Frank Abagnale, Jr with FBI Agents)

Before long, more jobs came Franks way but ones which paid. In fact, as the years went buy, Franks knowledge was in great demand by major companies around the world. Companies realized that they could save millions if not billions of dollars protecting themselves from con artists and counterfeiters and Frank was just the man that could provide them with the valuable information they needed.

To date, Frank is one of the worlds foremost authorities on document fraud, including check swindling, forgery and embezzlement. According to his company website Frank has been a consultant, lectured and instructed hundreds of seminars worldwide and continues to offer his services for free to the FBI. Moreover, he has published several books, manuals and articles and has designed secure checks that are utilized by businesses worldwide.

There is no doubt that Frank has made great efforts to make amends for his past wrongs.  He successfully rehabilitated himself and has channeled his talents in a more positive direction. According to an interview with Frank by Laura Pulfer, Frank stated that his relationship with his wife of more than a quarter of a century and his belief in God has led to his about face. He currently lives in the Midwest with his wife and three sons.

Biography - Abagnale, Frank W., Jr. (1948-): An article from: Contemporary Authors
The Terminal/Catch Me If You Can
Catch Me if You Can
Keep your name to yourself.: An article from: Units
Atrapenme Si Pueden!
Frank Abagnale: ACFEI featured speaker in Las Vegas!(2009 NATIONAL CONFERENCE)(American College of Forensic Examiners Institute)(Cover story): An article from: The Forensic Examiner

Frank Abagnale, Jr : The Professor

During his travels, Frank visited the state of Utah, which impressed him with its natural beauty and lovely women. He was especially drawn to the university campuses in the area, where the ladies were particularly youthful and stunning. It was a place Frank was not eager to leave, so he decided to stick around and teach a few classes, despite the fact that he had no previous teaching experience or credentials. However, he refused to allow such minor details deter him.

Frank contacted the dean of Brigham Young University and set up an appointment, posing as a professor of sociology. He informed the dean that he worked as a university instructor for a couple of years before he left the field and became an airline pilot. He suggested that he was interested in returning to his roots as a teacher and would be like to work at the university. The dean was highly impressed with Franks background and charm and he looked forward to their meeting.

With falsified credentials in hand, Frank went to the scheduled interview. After a brief discussion with Frank, the dean made his decision. According to his autobiography, Frank was hired within the hour to teach two six-week courses during the summer at a salary of $1,600 per semester. Once again, Frank had accomplished the unthinkable. He immediately began to research the position and study the books he would use so that he would be prepared for his new job.

His masquerade as a professor was a success. Franks classes were not only interesting and the talk of the campus but he was also highly revered by his students. Moreover, Frank thoroughly enjoyed his newfound, although temporary position. Unfortunately for Frank his stint as a professor was short-lived and at the end of the summer he was let go with an invitation from the dean to return when a permanent position became available. 

Frank left Utah and made his way to California where he returned to what he knew best, paperhanging or writing bad checks. He became even more sophisticated in his role as a con artist and forger, making tens of thousands of dollars more than he had previously. Most of the money he made was from cashing counterfeit expense checks that he manufactured himself. In fact, Frank was so proficient at his criminal trade that he managed to accumulate almost $100,000.

Frank was now in his late teens and incredibly wealthy for his age. But he was still lonely. This loneliness ended when he met and fell in love with a young stewardess. Frank and the young woman were so enthralled with one another that they began to discuss marriage. However Frank began to feel ill at ease because she had no idea who he really was. Moreover, she was a good girl and he feared she would not accept his shady background.

One day, Frank decided to come clean. He revealed to her his true identity and his devious criminal lifestyle, hoping that she would overlook his shortcomings and unconditionally accept him. Frank was surprised when instead of forgiving him she informed the police and the FBI of his whereabouts. Frank narrowly evaded capture and was once again on his own and on the move.

Frank traveled the world over using his airline uniforms to hitch rides to far-off destinations. He also continued to paperhang (write bad checks) as often as he could. During a trip to France, he met a stewardess with whom he began a relationship. Before long he learned that his girlfriends father ran a family print shop. 

Naturally, Frank was very interested in meeting her father, eager to make a proposition to him. Eventually, he was introduced to the man and asked him if he would be interested in performing a large print job, allegedly for Pan Am. Frank requested an order of 10,000 Pan Am payroll checks, which the girls father agreed to fill.

To Franks delight the checks were superbly made. Unbeknownst to his girlfriend or her father, Frank successfully passed them off to area banks in return for large amounts of cash. He then returned to the states, where he collected even larger sums of cash from his illegal exploits.    

Not long after his return to the U.S., state troopers apprehended Frank at a Boston Airport while he was waiting for a flight to depart. They immediately took him to jail and charged him with vagrancy until they were able to gather enough information on him proving he was the infamous Frank Abagnale, Jr. However, the police never had a chance to discover his true identity. Frank was released on bail just barely missing the FBI who was en route to collect him. Once again, he escaped a close call with the authorities, yet he refused to let the incident slow him down. In fact, Frank became even bolder in his attempts to obtain money.  

According to Abagnales book, soon after he was released from jail, he rented a security guard uniform and stood in front of a night-deposit box at the airport where he was captured just hours earlier. Frank held before him a large canvas bag and waited for people to drop off their nightly deposits, which they did by the dozens. They, like many others had been misguided by Franks uniform. When the bag began to fill, he decided to put the loot in the car he rented for the occasion. However, the bag was too heavy for him to carry. Surprisingly, a couple of state troopers assisted Frank with loading the bag into his car unaware that he was in the process of stealing the money. Frank drove off with more than $60,000 in cash, outwitting the people who sought to detain him.

Catch Me If You Can (Widescreen Two-Disc Special Edition)
Catch Me If You Can (Full Screen Two-Disc Special Edition)
The Terminal/Catch Me If You Can
Catch Me If You Can/Almost Famous
Biography - Abagnale, Frank W., Jr. (1948-): An article from: Contemporary Authors

Frank Abagnale, Jr : Practicing and Evading The Law

While in Louisiana, Frank met up with a stewardess who he met during his deadheading adventures several years prior. The two dated for a while, but the woman never knew Franks real identity for fear that she might expose his illegal escapades. Instead, Frank led her to believe that he was not only an airline co-pilot but that he also had a degree in law, although he never practiced.

During a party one night that the two attended, Franks girlfriend introduced him to a lawyer who worked in the offices of the states district attorney. The lawyer took an interest in him, especially because Frank claimed that he received his law degree from Harvard. The lawyer told Frank that there was a position open at the attorney generals offices that he should pursue. He said to Frank that all he had to do was take his university transcripts to the examiners office and apply for the Louisiana bar examination. Once he passed the bar, Frank would be able to fill the position.  

It was a challenge that intrigued Frank and he believed that he might actually be able to pull it off. Not long after his conversation with the lawyer, Frank made counterfeit transcripts, allegedly from Harvard Law School. After conducting research on the classes offered at Harvard, he gathered the necessary materials to construct the mock transcripts. The end result was impressive. Although he had never seen an actual transcript from the law school, it looked as if it might be able to pass as real. He decided to give it a try and put it to the test.

The next step was to attempt the bar exam. Frank studied law books for weeks before he felt confident enough to take the test. Once he felt he knew a sufficient amount to pass, he registered with the examiners office, supplying them with his fake transcripts. Eventually he was summoned to the office to take the exam. It was no surprise that he flunked, since he had never attended law school in his life.

Frank later stated in an interview with Faraci that Louisiana at the time allowed you to (take) the Bar over and over as many times as you needed. It was really a matter of eliminating what you got wrong, which was exactly what he did. Surprisingly, after his third try Frank passed and received a license to practice law. 
Shortly thereafter, Frank applied for the job at the offices of the attorney general. Following an interview, he was hired as a legal assistant working in the corporate law division of the attorney general. He was also given an annual salary of approximately $13,000. Frank had risen to the challenge and succeeded in his quest. There was no doubt that his art of deception had rivaled some of the most talented con artists in history.
According to his autobiography, Frank enjoyed his new position, regardless of the fact that he was more or less a glamorized errand boy, fetching documents and even coffee for his superiors. Even though he acquired the job under false pretenses, Frank was earning a somewhat legitimate living, which paid well. It seemed as if he had found his niche, yet Franks false sense of security didnt last long.
The attorney general had on his staff another lawyer who happened to be a real Harvard graduate. Frank began to feel the pressure, especially when the new lawyer made repeated attempts to befriend his alleged fellow alumni. When the lawyer began to ask too many questions about his background, Frank became particularly uncomfortable. He knew that if he were to stay there for a prolonged period of time, his scheme would be uncovered or the authorities would eventually catch up with him. Frank decided to leave his job as a lawyer and pursue another career.

Frank fell back temporarily into his old persona as an airline co-pilot. This time, he acquired a second uniform from Trans World Airways (TWA) and created a new FAA license and ID pass card. Thus, he had a complete set of credentials for both Pan Am and TWA. Once again, he was free to travel around the world, cashing bad checks with unsuspecting banks.

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