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‘Catch Me If You Can’ Ex-Con Frank Abagnale to Speak at Harper's Bazaar Anti-Counterfeit Summit


kate middleton
Photo: Getty Images
Frank Abagnale at the Catch Me If You Can movie premiere in 2003.

If you’ve seen the film Catch Me If You Can, you might not expect Frank Abagnale, the brilliant con man and forger immortalized by Leonardo DiCaprio, to be doing any public speaking at an anti-counterfeiting convention. But on April 26, that’s exactly where he’ll be: Harper’s Bazaar’s Fakes Are Never in Fashion Anticounterfeiting Summit.

The glamorous part you know: DiCaprio, Hanks, Spielberg, etc. But the post-script to the film (and now Broadway show!) is that Abagnale served his time and now works for the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a security consultant and lecturer. Abaganale also runs Abagnale & Associates, a financial fraud consultancy company.

And how different can forged checks and fake Chanels really be?

Abagnale will give the keynote speech at the seventh annual summit at Hearst Tower, which is themed Counterfeiting 2.0: The Internet and Its Role in the Global Counterfeiting Epidemic.

According to Harper’s Bazaar, estimated annual sales in counterfeit products worldwide are a whopping $600 billion, with $512 billion in global sales lost to counterfeits. (Brush up on the difference between counterfeits and knockoffs here.) And aside from taking fairly earned revenues away from designers, musicians and filmmakers, the selling of counterfeit products has in the past reportedly gone to fund terrorism, human trafficking, and drug and weapon possession.

Last year’s event boasted Juan C. Zarate, CBS News senior national security consultant and analyst, as the event’s keynote speaker, who sat on a panel with L’Oréal Paris’ Carol J. Hamilton, Donatella Iaricci, head of the Italian Intellectual Property Rights Desk in New York, director Steven Soderbergh, and Mary Wikstrom, CEO of Mary Wikstrom & Company Inc.

Meanwhile, see which fashion mega-brand recently sued for copyright infringement.

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