[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, 2013. Our 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 internal union affairs, employee benefit plans, and labor-management relations.
During this reporting period, we issued 28 audit and other reports that, among other things, recommended that $42.1 million in funds be put to better use. We also questioned approximately $9.3 million in costs relating to DOL programs. Among our many significant findings, we reported that:
- The impact of the Department’s $500 million Green Jobs Workforce Investment Act Job Training Program was limited in terms of reported employment outcomes. For instance, job retention goals were lower than planned and the program trained workers who were already employed;
- The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) needs to enhance its performance evaluation process for discretionary job training grantees and use results to award and monitor future grant investments;
- Job Corps centers allowed $32.9 million in maintenance funds to expire or approach expiration while at the same time experiencing budget overruns. As a result, by not repairing maintenance deficiencies in a timely manner, Job Corps exposed students, staff, and visitors to safety and health hazards; and
- The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) made significant progress implementing recommendations from its internal review following the Upper Big Branch Mine disaster. However, another audit found that MSHA still needs to do more to improve its oversight of coal mine roof control plans.
Our investigative work also yielded impressive results, with a total of 293 indictments, 262 convictions, and $38.4 million in monetary accomplishments. Some of our most significant investigative results are as follows:
- The sentencing of a La Cosa Nostra family member in Philadelphia to serve four and a half years in prison for his role in a racketeering conspiracy involving illegal gambling and theft from an employee benefit plan;
- The sentencing of a New York construction company vice-president to serve nine months’ home confinement and three years’ supervised release, and to pay over $1.8 million in forfeiture for stealing benefit plan contributions.
- The conviction of the former president of California’s Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 6434 for the embezzlement of thousands of union dollars;
- The sentencing of a former mine superintendent to serve 21 months in prison for his role in allowing and concealing multiple safety and health violations at the Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia; and
- The sentencing of a former chiropractic clinic owner in Illinois to serve six and a half years in prison and ordered to pay over $2 million in restitution for his role in a health care fraud scheme that included union-sponsored benefit plans.
These are some of the examples of the exceptional work done by our professional and dedicated OIG staff. I would like to express my gratitude to them for their significant achievements during this reporting period. I look forward to continuing to work with the Department to ensure the integrity of programs and the protection of the rights and benefits of workers and retirees.