The Forensic Accounting program has been living up to its reputation to say the least. While the semester has been passing by extremely quickly, it is fascinating what we have done. Whether its learning how to handle an investigation or hearing from an individual who had first-hand experiences with uncovering one of the largest frauds in recent history it has been great!
First off, let me describe the scene. The students walk into class and see about ten IRS Criminal Investigators standing in the front of the room. Mind you that we knew they were going to be there before hand so it was not a complete shock. The IRS agents then walked us through a mock-investigation of someone committing a tax fraud. This investigation started with the students questioning an informant, requesting information such as bank records and tax returns, and even digging through actual trash to find papers thrown away by the suspect that could be used as evidence! With much help from the Agents, we were able to gather evidence on the suspect that could be used in court. Also, after the investigation was over, the Agents stayed with us and answered any questions we had regarding IRS Criminal Investigation. The questions spanned from dealing with the investigation to what a career with the IRS is like.
Walking into a room full of federal agents hasn’t been the only exciting part of the Forensic Accounting program. In one of our classes we listened to an individual who had first-hand experiences with uncovering the Adelphia fraud. Specifically the individual was hired by and worked directly for Tim Rigas who was the CFO of Adelphia Communications Corporation. The speaker talked of how he was hired about six months prior to the fraud being discovered and then how he spent years working with auditors and investigators in discovering exactly what his former bosses were doing with investors’ funds. The speaker stressed the importance of ethics in the accounting profession and supporting work with proper accounting standards. Such practices helped to keep the speaker out of trouble as he was following proper laws and regulations. Hearing form someone who had such great experience was an eye-opening experience. The moral of the story was always support your work and be sure to document something if it seems incorrect. Both of which helped to keep the speaker out of prison. In other words, the investigators were able to see that he was following the rules and was not participating in the fraud because of his supporting work.
The past two weeks in the Forensic Accounting program have been packed to say the least! The lessons and experiences the students have had are unique to the program and teach great lessons. I am excited to see what is up next!