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Accounting students see life as IRS agents

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DENVER -- When you think of college level accounting classes, you think of students in a class, taking notes from a professor.

The last thing you'd imagine is students with fake guns and bulletproof vests arresting people suspected of committing a tax fraud-related crime.

But that's what happened Friday at Metropolitan State University in Denver.

Twenty-five accounting students at MSU signed up for a one-day seminar to see what it's like to be an investigator for the Internal Revenue Service.

Several IRS special agents were on hand to give quick tutorials on surveillance techniques, interview skills, search and seizure, and even how to put handcuffs on a suspect.

"It's just to give them a feel for what we do," IRS special agent Karen Gurgel said.

First, the new "agents" are sworn in. Next, they split into groups of five and are briefed on the assignment of the day.

On Friday, the IRS agents played the role of theĀ  "bad guys" as part of the exercise.

"It give them an idea of what we do and how we do it. And shows that there are other options out there besides the traditional accounting professions," Gurgel said.

The one-day seminar is not a course requirement but was very popular with junior Marilee Franklin.

"It was awesome," she said. "I got to meet with some super cool IRS agents and learned a lot about going undercover."

"I hope they had a great time," Gurgel said. "I hope they learned that there are other options out there besides public accounting."