[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 September 30, 2012. 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 41 audit and other reports that, among other things, recommended that $297 million in funds be put to better use. Among our many significant findings, we reported that:
- The use of limited-scope audits by independent public accountants that are authorized under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) allowed $3.3 trillion in assets to be excluded from audit review.
- Management of the H-2B visa program needed to be strengthened to ensure adequate wage and job protections for U.S. workers.
- Oversight of Job Corps centers’ performance needed to be improved to ensure that centers meet performance goals relating to academic and career technical training programs.
- OSHA site specific inspection targeting program covered only a small portion of high-risk worksites nationwide.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics’ requirements designed to protect confidential economic data and statistics from being disclosed prematurely or used in an unauthorized manner were violated in North Carolina, Wisconsin, Washington, and Louisiana.
- Corrective actions taken as a result of the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s accountability reviews did not always prevent the recurrence of deficiencies, such as the failure to conduct safety and health inspections for all working shifts at metal/nonmetal mines.
Our investigative work also yielded impressive results, with a total of 357 indictments, 230 convictions, and $141.5 million in monetary accomplishments. Some of our investigative results included:
- The sentencing of the former benefit fund administrator for the New York Laborers’ International Union of North America (Sandhogs’ Union) Local 147 to six years in prison and three years of supervised release for her role in embezzling more than $40 million from employee benefit plans.
- The sentencing of a former county commissioner in Ohio to 28 years in prison for his role in multiple crimes including racketeering, bribery, and conspiracy.
- The sentencing of the former president of the United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Northeastern District Council in Pennsylvania to 18 months in prison and to pay more than $257,000 in restitution for embezzling from labor union assets and from a health care benefit program.
- The sentencing of an individual in Florida to more than two years in prison and ordered to pay nearly $2 million in restitution for her role in an illicit nationwide employee leasing scheme.
- The guilty plea of a New York construction company owner, who agreed to repay more than $1.3 million in prevailing wages owed to his workers.
These examples clearly demonstrate 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.