ROCK HILL, S.C. - Typically, people avoid the Internal Revenue Service.
Not Winthrop University College of Business Administration accounting students. On Friday, Nov. 6, they will take part in the IRS’s Adrian Project in Thurmond Building 210.
About 32 Winthrop accounting students are expected to join 18 current and retired IRS agents to solve mock fraud cases at the College of Business Administration. The simulation might start with a crumpled tax form in a bag of trash, or maybe an anonymous phone call. This might lead the student investigators to an interview with a suspicious banker or lawyer, played by a hard-nosed special agent.
"A lot of agencies like to bring us in because of our expertise in financial crimes," said Jeannine A. Hammett, special agent in charge of the Charlotte IRS Criminal Investigation Division. "It's about following the money. And that's what most crimes are about -- the money."
IRS agents also use such demonstrations to recruit, Hammett said. "Our field gives the students another avenue for a career option."
The project is part of a continuing effort by the IRS to show that the agency works in ways that people don't usually think about. The program was created by Special Agent Stephen Moore, member of the Criminal Investigation Unit of the IRS, in 2001. It was first offered at Adrian College in 2002 as a six-hour course for students on how the IRS Criminal Investigation division works.
Winthrop officials are pleased to offer the demonstrations to students. “This provides our accounting majors an excellent opportunity to work with IRS agents in using real-world fraud detection skills in solving fictitious financial crimes,” said Charles Alvis, Winthrop associate professor of accounting.
During the workshops students learn how both criminal justice and accounting are key elements to this type of law enforcement. Students are assigned to solve hypothetical financial crimes and use the knowledge gained in their accounting and law classes to solve mock situations.
Other colleges who have hosted the Adrian Project include Central Michigan University, Eastern Michigan University, Coastal Carolina, High Point, S.C. State, Indiana State University and Florida A&M University.
Winthrop’s accounting department is accredited through the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and offers an undergraduate degree and an M.B.A. in accounting degree. The two degrees enable students to meet the academic requirements to become licensed as a certified public accountant.
Winthrop’s faculty members work closely with the accounting community to find opportunities for student internships and to strengthen student professional development. Courses are offered at flexible times to accommodate working and non-working students.