[Excerpt] I am pleased to submit this Semiannual Report to Congress, which highlights the most significant activities and accomplishments of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Office of Inspector General (OIG) for the six-month period ending March 31, 2010. During this reporting period, our investigative work led to 169 indictments, 157 convictions, and $48.1 million in monetary accomplishments. In addition, we issued 29 audit and other reports which, among other things, recommended that $142.4 million in funds be put to better use.
OIG audits and investigations continue to assess the effectiveness, efficiency, economy, and integrity of DOL’s programs and operations. We also continue to investigate the influence of labor racketeering and/ or organized crime with respect to unions, employee benefit plans, and workers.
During this reporting period, we found that Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) did not ensure the completion of required periodic training by veteran mine inspectors. Such training is needed to ensure MSHA inspectors possess the up-to-date knowledge of health and safety standards or mining technology needed to perform their duties.
In another audit, we found that Wage and Hour Division investigators did not adequately document the results of their investigations and, therefore, could not demonstrate that the proper conclusions had been reached regarding employers’ compliance with the minimum wage and overtime exemption provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
We also issued five audit reports related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) during this semiannual period. Among our findings were that states have neither applied for, nor used, $142 million in Recovery Act funds available under the Health Coverage Tax Credit Program; and that some Local Workforce Investment Boards in the Workforce Investment Act Adult and Dislocated Worker programs failed to address the priority of service to recipients of public assistance and other low-income individuals in their Recovery Act plans, increasing the risk that funds may not be used as intended by the Congress.
Our audits of five Job Corps centers, operated by three different contractors, again raised concerns about the Job Corps’ program’s ability to implement adequate safety programs and report accurate financial and performance data.
Our investigations continue to combat labor racketeering and/or organized crime in the workplace. In a recent significant investigation, the national president of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers and Trainmen pled guilty to bribery and interstate travel to carry out unlawful activity. Another major organized crime investigation led to guilty pleas by six individuals, including a high-ranking Gambino Organized Crime Family member and two Laborers International Union of North America officials, in a scheme involving illegal gambling, extortion, and labor racketeering.
OIG investigations also identified vulnerabilities and fraud in the Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) programs. In one investigation, a husband and wife who conspired to defraud the UI program were ordered to pay $3.2 million in restitution and the husband was sentenced to 51 months’ incarceration. Another investigation resulted in an orthopedic surgeon being ordered to pay $750,000 in restitution for defrauding the FECA program by billing for services not rendered.
Finally, the OIG continues its support of the International Organized Crime Strategy, a multi-agency task force headed by the U.S. Attorney General, which is committed to combatting crime by international organized groups.
I would like to express my appreciation to the OIG staff and commend them on their professionalism, dedication, and devotion to the mission of the Inspector General. I look forward to continuing to work with the Department to ensure the economy and efficiency of programs and that the rights and benefits of workers and retirees are protected.