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BSU to tackle mock financial crimes in Adrian Project

Bemidji State University accounting students will "hunt down" perpetrators of financial crimes during a one-day seminar on Friday, March 26, when the College of Business, Technology and Communication hosts The Adrian Project.

The project, a collaboration with universities and the Internal Revenue Service that 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 volunteer "criminals" will come from BSU's administration, faculty and staff.

The Adrian Project debuted in February 2002 for 25 accounting and criminal justice majors and has since been offered at colleges and universities across the nation. BSU'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 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 details, call BSU at 755-3788.