Accounting students learned how to react to real-life financial crime scenes recently through the Adrian Project, an all-day interactive workshop presented by the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Unit.

The Adrian Project workshops, held at each of the 33 IRS field offices throughout the United States, are designed to increase students’ interest in investigating fraud through forensic accounting.

Real-world experience

The workshops bridge the gap between classroom learning and real-world experience by having students act as IRS-Criminal Investigation special agents for a day.

“The goal is to show this as a job opportunity for Accounting students that they might not know about,” said IRS Special Agent and Public Information Officer Jessica Crocker. “The IRS agents who act in the role playing are extremely involved and dedicated. They use real props as evidence and have a script to make it as real as possible.”

Groups of students were paired with experienced IRS special agents, who coached them throughout the day. The students conducted mock interviews, examined public records, acted out real-life scenarios, interrogated “suspects,” and solved cases involving drug trafficking, money laundering, and tax evasion.

Career prospects

“This is a really great opportunity to learn and experience an alternate accounting occupation, one that a lot of college students don’t know about,” said Sawyer Business School graduate student Michael Trencher, who is pursuing a Master of Science in Accounting degree. “I’m really glad I got to be a part of this.”

Accounting major Valeria Cintron, a senior, said: “I want to have a career in the criminal justice field. Having this experience has verified my decision and made me want to do it even more.”

Suffolk University students, participating in the Adrian Project for the first time, joined students from UMass Boston and Northeastern University for the workshop.

More than 20 IRS agents and volunteers participated in the program.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for Suffolk University and Suffolk students to participate in real life experiences” said Accounting Professor Bill Driscoll, a former IRS manager. “In the classroom I try to give my students real-life examples, and this workshop is a great way to put all of that into play.”