Real-life clue game? IRS Brings Criminal Investigation to Utah Students

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To publicize what the IRS Criminal Investigative Team is doing, the agency created Project Adrian. On Thursday, Project Adrian paid a visit to Dixie State University. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

Estimated reading time: 3-4 minutes

ST. GEORGE – It wasn’t the FBI or the CIA that finally shot the infamous Al Capone in 1931. That bragging rights belong to the Internal Revenue Service’s criminal investigative team.

“Most people see that we’re called ‘special agent’ and they automatically go straight to the FBI and don’t know that the IRS criminal investigation exists and we have job openings, and what we do and why we are different from other criminal investigative agencies,” said Casey Hill, an IRS Supervisory Special Agent.

To spread the word about what IRS Criminal Investigation does — and possibly recruit the next agent to take down a ruthless mob boss — the agency has formed Project Adrian. On Thursday, Project Adrian paid a visit to Dixie State University.

“The Adrian Project is essentially an opportunity for college-level students to practice the skills they learn in college in the world of investigation,” Hill said.

To do this, students participate in a mock criminal investigation to see how IRS special agents trace illicit money from crime to criminal. Adding to the sense of reality, the students are sworn in as special agents for the day and wear IRS-Criminal Investigation protective vests, use handcuffs, toy guns, and radios to communicate with their agent counterparts on the go. affair.

Students hone their forensic accounting skills by analyzing documents, interviewing suspects, and conducting surveillance. The simulation is over when the students have obtained enough evidence of the crime, resulting in the arrest of the fictional offender.

“It’s a lot of fun,” said Cindy Greenman, associate professor of accounting at Dixie State.

Greenman, who teaches a forensic accounting class at the university, said 31 students are expected to attend Project Adrian in Utah.

Additionally, the simulation is essentially a crash course in fraud detection and investigation.

“What would normally take months to investigate, they will do in about four hours,” Greenman said. “They can use all the skills they learn in my classes, so they put the pieces of fraud together.”

While the simulation is enjoyable for students — Greenman noted that few students can say they’ve handcuffed an IRS special agent — it also provides a valuable opportunity for active learning and hands-on experience in the game. real world which can be hard to come by. by in class.

“It really develops their critical thinking skills because they have to be able to understand the flow of accounting information, but they also have to think critically, ‘Okay, does that make sense? piece of the puzzle, or isn’t it? and ‘If it’s a piece of the puzzle, how exactly does it fit?'” Greenman said.

Bringing Project Adrian to schools is also good for the IRS, Hill said, especially as the agency seeks to hire 10,000 new workers — including more than 1,000 in Ogden — to reduce a large backlog in schools. tax returns.

“We’ve kind of been dealing with a labor shortage for some time. And now that the budget has been approved, (it’s) actually built into the budget for us to hire a number of people , and we’re hiring a lot of people,” Hill said. “Another reason we’re away – a recruiting event.”

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Logan Stefanich is a reporter for KSL.com, covering Southern Utah communities, education, business, and military news.

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