[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, Office of Inspector General (DOL-OIG), for the six-month period ending September 30, 2009. During this reporting period, our investigative work led to 214 indictments, 221 convictions, and $123.1 million in monetary accomplishments. In addition, we issued 22 audit and other reports. OIG audits and investigations continue to assess the effectiveness, efficiency, economy, and integrity of DOL’s programs and operations. We also continue to investigate labor racketeering and/or organized crime influence against unions, employee benefit plans, and workers.
From an audit perspective, the OIG is highly engaged in ensuring the integrity of DOL activities related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) funding. During this reporting period, we issued five reports to that end. Among our findings are that DOL implemented procedures for the accounting of Recovery Act financial activity, acted quickly to implement the premium-assistance provisions for workers who temporarily maintain their health insurance at group rates after losing their jobs, and effectively implemented the temporary program for additional unemployment compensation for eligible recipients. We also identified areas for improvement related to financial and performance reporting and programmatic coordination with states.
An audit found shortcomings with DOL’s new iCert system, which is designed to identify inaccuracies in H-1B labor condition applications (LCAs) for foreign workers. We found that, because of missing electronic checks, manual reviews of the LCAs by analysts are necessary. However, increases in the volume of applications may result in analysts not being able to perform a 100 percent review. This increases the risk of LCAs being improperly certified.
Our audits also continue to reveal that some Job Corps centers do not comply with requirements for reporting performance for student attendance and accountability. We also found that, at three centers, a contractor had not ensured compliance with procedures to address student misconduct.
An audit of the handling of injured Federal employees’ reemployment status at two Federal workers’ compensation district offices found that the Department did not ensure that consistent intervention actions were taken toward removing cases from the periodic roll. This increased the risk of claimants continuing to receive full Federal Employee’s Compensation Act benefits after they were able to return to work or after their compensation could have been reduced.
Our investigations continue to combat organized crime and/or labor racketeering involving the monies in union- sponsored benefit plans, internal union corruption, and labor-management relations. A major OIG investigation disclosed more than 30 years of organized crime control of the International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1235, which represents port workers in New Jersey. In another investigation, the business manager for the Electrical Workers Local Union No. 3, who was a former New York State assemblyman, was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment on racketeering, bank fraud, and false statement charges involving a number of schemes carried out for personal gain.
OIG investigations also identified vulnerabilities and fraud in DOL programs, such as the foreign labor certification (FLC) program. One OIG investigation led to the recent sentencing of Viktar Krus and his co-conspirators to various periods of incarceration for fraudulently obtaining visas for more than 3,800 foreign nationals and defrauding the government of $7.4 million in payroll taxes. Because of our investigative expertise, the OIG is a member of the International Organized Crime (IOC) strategy headed by the U.S. Attorney General. The IOC is committed to combating crime by international organized groups.
Finally, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to former DOL Inspector General Gordon S. Heddell, who is now serving as the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Defense. During his leadership of more than eight years, the DOL-OIG consistently achieved significant results similar to those presented in this report. As Acting Inspector General, I look forward to continuing to work with the Secretary of Labor and her management team in ensuring the effectiveness of DOL in delivering services and protecting the rights and benefits of American workers and retirees.