[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, 2012. During this reporting period, our investigative work led to 276 indictments, 187 convictions, and $256.3 million in monetary accomplishments. In addition, we issued 25 audit and other reports, which, among other things, recommended that $2.15 billion 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 internal union affairs, employee benefit plans, and labor-management relations. Our audit program resulted in significant findings, including the following:
- Overpayment detection controls that were not applied to $126 billion in emergency Federally-funded Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, leaving that portion of the UI program vulnerable to billions of dollars in undetected overpayments.
- Program design issues that hampered the Department’s ability to protect the jobs and wages of U.S. workers in connection with H-2B applications filed by four Oregon forestry employers to obtain foreign labor.
- Inadequate monitoring of two Job Corps Centers’ subcontracting activities, resulting in questioned costs totaling some $4.3 million.
- The need for DOL to develop performance measures on benefit payment accuracy, to ensure timely adjustment and termination of benefits, and to train claims examiners to improve the detection and prevention of Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) benefit program overpayments.
Our investigations program likewise yielded impressive results, such as these:
- The guilty plea from the former administrator for the Laborers’ International Union of North America (Sandhogs’ Union) Local 147 benefit funds for her role in embezzling more than $40 million from employee benefit plans.
- The sentencing of a former International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1604 president and international representative to prison for falsifying Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) records, and the payment of more than $216,000 in restitution for receiving unlawful payments.
- The sentencing of a former Colorado health care provider to four years in prison and three years of supervised release for his role in defrauding Office of Workers’ Compensation Program’s (OWCP’s) Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program of more than $3.5 million through fraudulent and excessive billings.
- The sentencing to three years in prison of the former head of security for Performance Coal Company, which operated the Upper Big Branch (UBB) mine at the time of the explosion that killed 29 workers in 2010. He had previously been convicted for obstructing justice and making false statements to the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) accident investigation team.
- The guilty plea of the former superintendent of the UBB mine to conspiracy to impede MSHA’s investigative efforts by giving advance notice of inspections, concealing safety violations, and ordering the falsification of records to hide hazardous conditions at the mine.
The OIG remains committed to promoting the economy, integrity, effectiveness, and efficiency of DOL. I would like to express my appreciation to the OIG staff and commend them on their professionalism and dedication to the mission of the Inspector General. I Iook 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.