When Internal Revenue Service Special Agent Tim McMillan’s father advised him to major in accounting at Rider University, the last thing that crossed his mind was focusing on a career as a special agent with the IRS Criminal Investigation Division.
But that was before McMillan – who joined the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Criminal Investigation Division earlier this year – and his classmates spent the day working side-by-side with IRS criminal investigators to crack a fictional white-collar fraud case.
McMillan, who graduated from Rider University in 2012, was on hand recently when special agents visited Rider to speak to students about a career with the IRS – just as they did when he was a sophomore.
McMillan said he had heard that the IRS was looking for students to take part in what was then called the Adrian Project Student Fraud Conference, which is the same exercise that two dozen Rider University students participated in recently.
The Adrian Project, which is now known as the IRS Citizens’ Academy, was developed by the IRS Criminal Investigation Division. It is an interactive learning experience that provides students with a chance to take part in a criminal investigation, using forensic accounting techniques.
McMillan and his classmates were divided into four teams, charged with investigating a fictional terrorist financing scheme. His team focused on one of the four people involved. They reviewed tax returns, interviewed witnesses and finally made the connection between the four people. They had enough evidence and arrested the four people.
“It was one of the coolest days. We got to meet the special agents. It gave us a flavor of what the job would be like,” McMillan said of his experience with the Adrian Project.
McMillan said he always had a general interest in law enforcement, admitting with a laugh that “I probably watched too many crime shows.” But that’s essentially how he became interested in forensic accounting.
After graduating from Rider University, McMillan worked as a tax accountant. He waited for eight years until there was an opening in the IRS Criminal Investigation Division. He applied for the job and was hired.
“It’s the best job you could ever ask for. This is what I really wanted to do,” McMillan said.
“But if you had told me 12 years ago that I would be back at Rider, helping out with the Citizens Academy, I would have said you’re crazy. I still pinch myself that it all worked out. It’s nice to have a job you love,” McMillan said.