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U of M Students Will Become IRS Criminal Investigators for a Day University News
For release: September 25, 2009

For press information, contact Curt Guenther, 901/678-2843

Typically, people walk quickly, if not run, in the opposite direction when someone says “the IRS is coming!” Not University of Memphis accounting and criminal justice students. Twenty-five of them will learn what it is like to actually be an IRS criminal investigator, as they ‘play’ one for the day Oct. 2.

During the very realistic exercise, the students, accompanied by current IRS agents, will solve real-world fraud cases dealing with drugs, money laundering, and terrorism. The U of M campus will serve as a small city where the ‘honorary’ special agents will conduct interviews, review financial documents, perform surveillance, carry out undercover operations, execute search warrants, and testify before a Grand Jury, all to learn the fraud detection and investigation skills used by IRS criminal investigators every day in solving real financial crimes.

“The opportunity to investigate ‘real’ criminal activities and to resolve them in an interactive environment is invaluable,” said R. A. (Andy) Wilson, CFE, CPP, an adjunct professor at the University. “This is a great learning tool for our students.”

“We hope to expose students to the inner workings of a fraud investigation through the eyes of an IRS special agent,” said Christopher Pikelis, Special-Agent-in-Charge of the Nashville Field Office for IRS Criminal Investigation. “They will be able to use the knowledge they’ve gained in their accounting and criminal justice classes and apply it to a real-life situation.”

U.S. Magistrate Judge Diane Vescovo, a U of M law alumna, will question the honorary criminal investigators before authorizing their search warrants. IRS criminal investigators from across the region will serve as team coaches, while Mid-South anti-fraud professionals from the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners will serve as witnesses and as “the bad-guys.” U.S. Attorney Larry Laurenzi will conclude the day with the students in the U of M’s Law School Moot Court Room, where the Grand Jury will hear the investigative findings and render Indictments.

Details about the day’s activities and the Adrian Project are available from R.A. “Andy” Wilson, CFE, CPP, adjunct professor in the U of M Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice, by phone at 901-481-0367 or via email at

Information about the U of M School of Accounting or Department of Criminology & Criminal Justice is available online at:

More information about a career as an IRS Special Agent is available online at:

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