Partnership with global leader gives UC students new way to learn how to "follow the money"

Daniel Wilcox, Class of 2021

“Being able to attain this training and accreditation early in the age of cryptocurrency not only makes me more marketable, but also a more versatile potential employee with a broad knowledge base.”

Last fall, Utica College initiated a partnership with CipherTrace, a global leader in cryptocurrency investigation, financial crime and money laundering investigations.

Junior, senior and graduate students in cybersecurity and fraud and financial crime investigation were offered a very special training course, allowing them to become CipherTrace Certified Examiners (CTCE), an industry-recognized designation. The course was offered at no charge to both campus-based and online students.

“The first half of the training was a crash course on cryptocurrencies,” said Daniel Wilcox ’21, “where it comes from, who uses it and how. Then we learned the basics of blockchain, how transactions are completed, recorded, and how they can be traced. We had the chance to get hands-on experience by working on an actual case, putting our new-found knowledge to work.”

Wilcox, a fraud and financial crime investigations major from Rome, NY, also holds minors in criminal justice and accounting.

“With every new payment/financial system comes new opportunities for criminal activity,” said Suzanne Lynch, professor of practice in economic crime investigation at UC. “Cryptocurrency, in particular, is appealing to criminals as it has the ability to anonymize one’s identity when transferring funds.” 

Lynch, who coordinated the CipherTrace training for UC students, has extensive experience in risk analysis, fraud control implementation and investigations in the financial services industry. Formerly vice president for security and risk management at MasterCard Worldwide, she has held positions at Goldman Sachs and Comerica Bank.

“Being able to attain this training and accreditation early in the age of cryptocurrency not only makes me more marketable, but also a more versatile potential employee with a broad knowledge base,” Wilcox said.

“I am grateful to Professor Lynch and to UC for this opportunity,” Wilcox said. “She was instrumental in helping me to secure an internship with K2 Integrity, and I can’t thank her enough for that.”

“We chose to work with Utica College because of the school’s reputation for having an outstanding financial crime studies program,” said Pamela Clegg, director of Financial Investigations and Education for CipherTrace. “The school is renowned for providing anti-money laundering and financial crime talent to the world.”

To date, more than 70 UC students have completed the training.

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