[Excerpt] I am pleased to submit this Semiannual Report to the Congress, which highlights the significant activities and accomplishments of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the six-month period ending September 30, 2006. During this reporting period, our investigative work led to 295 indictments, 260 convictions, and over $76 million in monetary accomplishments. In addition, we issued 66 audit reports and questioned $90.2 million in costs.
During this reporting period, the OIG continued to provide audit and investigative oversight of the Department of Labor’s (DOL’s) response to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. We issued six management letters related to this effort. One of the letters identified individuals who had received disaster unemployment assistance (DUA) from one state, while also receiving DUA or state unemployment compensation from another state. In addition, an OIG investigation led to the indictment of a disaster-reconstruction company owner who had allegedly neglected to pay approximately $1.4 million in employee taxes owed to the Federal and state governments.
OIG audits included significant recommendations to address vulnerabilities identified in DOL programs and operations. For example, we issued a performance audit that determined that DOL’s coal mine hazardous condition complaint process needed improvement. We also conducted several audits assessing the adequacy of the Department’s information security program and identified challenges in the areas of access controls and protection over personally identifiable information.
Our investigations continue to combat labor racketeering in the workplace and fraud involving DOL programs. One particular investigation resulted in several former high-ranking officials of Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 91 in the State of New York either pleading guilty or being sentenced for conspiring to commit violations of the Hobbs Act.
Another significant case involved Ralphs Grocery Company. Ralphs pled guilty to several felony counts related to charges that it illegally rehired locked-out workers during the supermarket labor dispute in Southern California more than two years ago. In June 2006, the company agreed to pay $70 million in fines and restitution.
Finally, recognizing the need to collaboratively combat document and benefit fraud, the OIG joined with the Departments of Homeland Security, Justice, State, and other agencies to form task forces in 10 major cities. Led by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the task forces have been highly effective in targeting criminal organizations and ineligible beneficiaries engaged in this type of fraud. In one case, an investigation found that the owner of a labor leasing company used counterfeit labor certification forms to apply for at least 250 green cards. The owner of the company pled guilty to charges and faces 37 to 46 months’ incarceration.
The OIG remains committed to promoting the economy, integrity, effectiveness, and efficiency of DOL programs and detecting waste, fraud, and abuse against those programs. I would like to express my sincere appreciation to a professional and dedicated OIG staff for their significant achievements during this reporting period.