IRS partners with Purdue, Krannert on simulated criminal investigation

Packs of money

Packs of money (Pixabay)

04/12/2016 |

Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management partnered with the Internal Revenue Service to stage a forensic accounting simulation Tuesday April 12.

Undergraduate accounting students had five hours to role-play a criminal investigation. The exercise took place in multiple rooms at the Krannert Center for Executive Education, 425 W. State St. The class project began with a simulated arrest in the Hawkins parking garage with students assessing the staged scenario for clues to assist in the investigation.

About 30 students, accompanied by current IRS special agents, helped solve a real-world fraud cases dealing with identity theft and money laundering. Students conducted interviews, reviewed financial documents, performed surveillance, carried out undercover operations, and executed search and arrest warrants. The exercise demonstrated how to detect fraud and the investigation skills used by IRS criminal investigators every day in solving real financial crimes.

“The opportunity to investigate ‘real’ criminal activities and to resolve them in an interactive environment is invaluable,” said Kimberly Fatten, accounting instructor. “This is a great learning tool for our students.”

“We hope to expose students to the inner workings of a fraud investigation through the eyes of an IRS special agent,” said James Robnett, special-agent-in-charge of the Chicago field office for IRS Criminal Investigation. “They will be able to use the knowledge they’ve gained in their accounting and criminal justice classes and apply it to a real-life situation.”

Robnett questioned the student investigators before authorizing their search warrants. About 15 IRS criminal investigators from the Chicago field office served as team coaches and actors. The exercise is known as Project Adrian. The IRS uses the simulation with accounting students for career exploration and a learning opportunity.