Frank Abagnale Jr is the son of Frank and Paula Abagnale. Franks' homelife is relatively carefree and happy, until a bad accounting issue ends up getting his father in trouble for tax issues.
The family is forced to give up numerous amenities, and move into a small apartment, as well as having Frank go to a different school. Feeling out of place on his first day, Frank hears one person joke that he (Frank) could be their substitute French teacher for the day given his clothing. Frank then plays along with this, and for a week, convinces the class that he really is their substitute teacher (even going so far as setting up a field trip to a french bread factory).
Frank's life then plunges into despair when he finds out his Mother is having an affair with another man, and upon finding out that his parents are getting divorced. Frank is asked to decide which family member he wishes to live with, which causes him to run away from home, taking the train to New York City. Frank manages to get by on meager funds as well as passing bad checks.
Frank's attempts to con people out of money due to niceties and flattery soon don't work, and upon seeing a group of airline pilots and stewardesses treated almost like royalty when entering a hotel, hatches a new plan. Frank tours Pan-Am under the pretense of doing a school story, but mainly to get information about what he has to do to pass himself off as a pilot. Using this information, Frank falsifies airline information, gets himself a Pan-Am flight crew suit, and ends up jetting around the world for free. Frank also passes numerous bad checks under the pretense of cashing in paychecks for the company.
Frank's cover is almost blown when FBI officer Carl Hanratty tracks him down. Frank instead tricks Carl by claiming that he is a Secret Service agent named Barry Allen, and that he has already tracked down Frank Abagnale Jr. Carl buys the story and gives Frank enough time to get away.
Soon after, Frank meets up with his father, and at a fancy restaurant, gives his Dad the keys to a brand-new Cadillac in hopes that he can reconcile with their Mom. However, Frank Sr refuses to accept the gift.
Frank Jr soon after changes his location, moving down to Florida. While down there, he goes to a hospital where he meets a young woman named Brenda Strong. Hoping to get closer to her, Frank forges materials to make it appear that he is a certified Doctor, and joins the medical team.
As they grow closer, Brenda soon reveals that she had an abortion when she was younger, and her family disowned her. Hoping to help her reconcile with them, Frank meets with her family. Frank soon after lies that he is also a lawyer as well as a Lutheran. Frank soon after takes a bar exam, before gaining employment with Brenda's father's help.
Frank soon after calls Carl Hanratty in hopes he will stop chasing him. However, his pleads go unheeded as Carl intends to catch Frank, who so far has stolen more than $4 million.
Frank then goes to meet with his father, giving the news that he is getting married, and has more than enough money to try and have his parents get back together. However, Frank St then reveals that Frank's mother has since remarried. This causes Frank to leave his father, distraught at the news.
Frank and Brenda soon after hold an engagement party, that is soon infiltrated by Carl and the FBI. Frank quickly makes his escape, but tells Brenda who he really is, and for her to meet her at the local airport in a few days.
At the appointed time, Frank arrives incognito, but finds Brenda there under the watchful eye of the FBI. Still needing to escape, Frank uses his airline expertise and 'hires' a number of local college girls to be part of a Pam-Am stewardess program. Using the girls as a cover, Frank and the girls are able to get past the FBI, and board a plane for Europe.
While in Europe, Frank manages to find a printer's press in France where he is able to turn out real checks under Pam-Am's name. Carl manages to track Frank down, and intends to arrest him, but not before the French authorities get to Frank.
Frank is held in a French prison for 4 years, until Carl is able to get him extradited back to the United States. On the plane back to the US, Carl reveals to Frank that his father has died. Frank rushes to the airplane bathroom, and manages to escape from the plane before it lands.
Rushing off into the city, Frank manages to find the home where his Mother now lives. However, upon seeing her with her new husband, as well as the fact that they now have a daughter, Frank resigns himself to the fact that any hopes to recreate the perfect family life he once knew are now over. Carl and his associates soon after show up, and capture Frank.
Frank is sentenced to prison for his crimes. Carl visits Frank, and on one visit, finds that Frank has developed an eye for finding fraud. With permission from his bosses, Carl gets frank a job at the FBI in their fraud department.
However, Frank still hungers to escape, and attempts to do so. However, Carl catches up to him, and gives him a lecture that Frank will still come back because there's noone left to chase him.
Frank then surprises Carl the next day when he at first doesn't show up, but then appears during one of Carl's lectures.
Frank's career is then summed up in an epilogue where it is explained that Frank has also implemented procedures and fail-safes to try and deter fraud, and that he is paid handsomely to do so.