Bemidji State to host Internal Revenue Service student fraud conference

BEMIDJI, Minn. (March 8, 2010) — Embezzlers? Busted. Bar owners with a second set of secret books? Nabbed. Tax cheats? Pinched.

Perpetrators of these and other financial crimes will be hunted down by Bemidji State University accounting students during a one-day seminar on Friday, March 26, when the College of Business, Technology and Communication plays host to “The Adrian Project.”

The project, a collaboration with universities and the Internal Revenue Service which began at Adrian (Mich.) College in 2002, turns teams of students into “special agents for a day,” coached by experienced special agents or retired agents, as they identify and attempt to solve a variety of finance-based crime scenarios.

Under the guidance of the IRS agents, student groups begin a five-hour investigation with a lead, which may be in the form of a tip from an anonymous informant, a meeting with local law enforcement or a seemingly insignificant scrap of paper fished from the garbage. The students select their next steps in gathering evidence, usually by taking what they’ve found to potential witnesses played by seasoned special agents, certified public accountants or other volunteers assisting with the project. Students will have access to some tools available to federal enforcement officials, including undercover officers, surveillance, subpoenas and search warrants.

At the end of the scenarios, students meet with their coaches as a group, discuss the investigation and receive an evaluation.

The project’s rogues gallery will be made up of volunteer criminals from Bemidji State’s administration, faculty and staff.

“The Adrian Project” debuted in Feb. 2002 for 25 accounting and criminal justice majors, and has since been offered at colleges and universities across the nation. The project is now headquartered on the campus of Adrian College. Bemidji State’s event will mark the first time the Adrian Project has been implemented at a college or university in Minnesota.

“The student response to this seminar will be enthusiastic,” said Dr. James Maxwell, dean of the College of Business, Technology and Communication. “This is a great opportunity for the students to have hands-on interactions with life-like simulations. I’m sure there will be a tremendous sense of accomplishment when they crack the case.”

For more information, please contact the college at (218) 755-3788.