Suspects were tailed, mailboxes were staked out, evidence was collected, search warrants were issued and arrests were made on Friday at SUNY Old Westbury.
Those making the arrests were 34 students of the College’s graduate programs in Forensic Accounting, Taxation, and Accounting who took part in a day-long, interactive crime simulation presented by special agents of the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation Division.
The idea, says Old Westbury Accounting Professor David Glodstein, is to expose students to a little-known career opportunity for accounting majors, as the IRS is the only federal law enforcement agency to require agents to have at least 15 hours of college accounting credits. Glodstein coordinated Friday's activities with officials from the IRS as part of the Adrian Project, an outreach program by the agency that collaborates with colleges nationwide to to provide students a firsthand look at what it's like for IRS special agents as they carry out an investigation, tracking illicit money from the crime to the criminal.
"The discussions and group projects we do in class are incredibly valuable, but the Adrian Project brings that work to life," said Glodstein, who directs the College's M.S. in Forensic
Accounting program. "When we take learning outside of the classroom, it shows the material in a whole new dimension to students. This activity lets them directly apply the knowledge and skills they are learning in class to scenarios they may one day experience in the field."
After being "sworn in" as honorary special agents, the students donned their IRS-CID vests, took ownership of their radios and prop handguns, and broke into teams to start building a case against an alleged criminal. Their experience included tailing suspects outside the Campus Center, intently reviewing bank statements, tax returns, other financial documentation; and, ultimately, arguing for and then, if approved, executing an arrest warrant -- handcuffs included -- on their target.