Accounting meets criminal investigation as the Adrian Project comes to Rowan


What happens when you give an accounting major firearms and suspect apprehension training? The answer to that question took place in Business Hall room 104 on Friday, March 23, when students from the Rohrer College of Business took part in the Adrian Project, a mock white collar crime case study presented by the Criminal Investigation Unit of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Students participating were split into four groups of six or seven, and each group was assigned a coach from the IRS team, who guided them through their tasks at hand and provided help when necessary. For Robert Glantz, a special agent with the IRS and lead instructor on the Adrian project, this exercise is key for him, because it helps to expand the employment horizons for college students.

“The reason we bring the Adrian project to a university like Rowan, and gear it towards mainly accounting students, [is] because most of the accounting students probably aren’t going into that major, to go into a law enforcement career,” Glantz said. “So we’re here to open their eyes to another possible job that they might not have even thought about with their accounting background.”

This particular case study started with a tip from an informant, who gave the teams a lead on a potentially fraudulent situation.

After hearing from the informant, students then began to look at financial documents related to the case, including records from the DMV, mortgage records, deeds, tax returns and other documents that could shed light on the situation. They also interviewed witnesses related to the case.

Accounting students participate in the Adrian Project at the Rohrer College of Business. Photo Editor / Nicole Mingo

Participants also gained training in how to handle a suspect while in the field by practicing with dummy rubber guns and handcuffs. During this portion of the exercise, students practiced what to do and say when apprehending a suspect, including working as a team to get cuffs on the suspect, patting them down to see if they have weapons on them and then leading them away safely.

After that portion of the training students were then asked to conduct surveillance on a specific target related to the investigation. The information they gathered was then added to their overall portfolio and presented to a magistrate judge, who then decided whether or not to grant search and arrest warrants.

After hearing their evidence, the judge granted the teams arrest warrants and using the information they learned in training, the teams quickly branched out and rounded up the suspects, completing the exercise. The students then headed back into the main room for a debrief, and were presented with certificates of completion.

For Andrew Van Hook, a faculty member in the accounting department and a Rowan alumni, this exercise was beneficial to the students involved. He felt it may have even changed their outlook on the job field.

“I think it gave them a better idea of a lot of the options in the accounting profession that are available to them,” Van Hook said. “It’s not just sitting behind a desk, or sitting in a cubicle crunching numbers. There can be a law enforcement or many other aspects of the accounting profession.”

Jose Paredes and other students trained with rubber firearms. Photo Editor / Nicole Mingo

And as for senior finance major Rebecca Bradshaw, who participated in the program, she says that working on the project gave her more knowledge about this particular field.

“I didn’t have a lot of knowledge before I started today about the Adrian project. I knew that it was a simulation of a criminal investigation,” Bradshaw said. “We combined a lot of activity into one day, but it was really interesting to see the different activities that the officers have to go through to ultimately apply for search warrants, investigate and end up taking down the suspect that is committing the crime.”


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