More than 70 accounting students will learn what it takes to be criminal investigators with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) during a day-long fraud investigation simulation at Illinois State University on Friday, Sept. 18.  The students will take part in the IRS’s “Adrian Project” Student Fraud Conference to solve hypothetical financial crimes using forensic accounting techniques.

IRS special agents are sometime referred to as “accountants with guns.”  The “Adrian Project” allows students to experience the inner workings of a fraud investigation through the eyes of IRS special agents and learn about forensic career opportunities open to students with degrees in accounting.

Students will work in groups under the direction of current and retired IRS special agents to investigate crime scenarios such as business owners skimming funds from their company, a bar owner who keeps two sets of books, a multi-filer tax scheme, and a drug trafficking operation.  In addition to using forensic accounting to follow a paper trail of financial wrongdoing, students will employ the tools available to federal law enforcement officers, including the use of undercover operations, surveillance, subpoenas, and search warrants.  Participants will also make mock arrests of suspects in the crime scenarios.

“The ‘Adrian Project’ fraud investigation simulation is a great out-of-class experience for students,” said Gerry McKean, interim chair of Illinois State’s Department of Accounting.  “It gives students a chance to see the forensic accounting and criminal investigation work done by IRS special agents and learn more about an exciting career option in governmental accounting.”