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UW Business Students Get Close Look at IRS Criminal Investigations

October 2, 2018

Students in the University of Wyoming accounting program will get a firsthand look at Internal Revenue Service criminal investigations during an exercise Friday, Oct. 12, on the UW campus.

The Adrian Project, developed by the Criminal Investigation Division of the IRS, is a daylong interactive experience in which students participate in mock criminal investigations. UW students will work alongside about a dozen IRS special agents to crack simulated white-collar crime cases, including identity theft and money laundering.

The request for this program at UW came from Mac Festa, an assistant professor in the Department of Accounting and Finance.

Students will conduct interviews, review financial documents, perform surveillance, carry out undercover operations, and execute search and arrest warrants -- including the use of mock firearms, handcuffs and bullet-proof vests. The exercise demonstrates how to detect fraud and the investigation skills used by IRS criminal investigators every day in solving real financial crimes.

All activities will take place in and around the College of Business Building.

“The Department of Accounting and Finance is excited to welcome the IRS and the Adrian Project to the UW campus,” Festa says. “This experience will allow our students to gain practical experience investigating financial crimes; to put their critical-thinking skills to the test; and to learn about different career paths in the accounting and finance fields.”

Students will use forensic accounting techniques to solve the cases. Students also will learn interviewing and surveillance techniques, document analysis and participate in defensive training.

The IRS started the role-playing event in 2002 as a way of introducing college accounting students to the agency and its work. The event is named after Michigan’s Adrian College, where the first event took place.

For more information, call Festa at (307) 766-5438 or email

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