[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, 2011. During this reporting period, our investigative work led to 207 indictments, 133 convictions, and $155 million in monetary accomplishments. In addition, we issued 29 audit and other reports which, among other things, recommended that $5.7 million in funds be put to better use, and questioned $3.4 million in costs during this reporting period.
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.
During this reporting period, we found that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) had not designed a method to examine the impact of state programs on workplace safety and health to ensure that they were effective and to fully evaluate the merits of any program changes. We also found that OSHA did not follow its own policies and procedures during its investigations of three whistleblower complaints. As a result, OSHA could not provide any assurance that protections were afforded as intended under Federal whistleblower laws.
Additionally, the OIG conducted two audits of the Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA). We found that EBSA needs to develop a process to determine whether the qualified default investment alternative under the Pension Protection Act is helping to increase employee participation and average investment returns in retirement plans through automatic enrollments. We also found that EBSA does not have adequate assurances that fiduciaries voted solely for the economic benefit of plans or that they monitored proxy voting activities.
We also issued eight audit reports related to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 during this reporting period. One audit found that the Employment and Training Administration needs to better ensure the YouthBuild program, which provides low-income youth with job skills and serves their communities by building affordable housing, meets program objectives.
Our investigations continue to combat labor racketeering and/or organized crime in internal union affairs, union- sponsored benefit plans, and labor management relations. For example, a major OIG investigation resulted in one of the Gambino Crime Family’s highest ranking members in New Jersey and 20 other defendants being sentenced for racketeering conspiracy and related crimes. A benefit plan investigation resulted in the sentencing of a chiropractor to over five years in prison after he pled guilty to fraudulently billing union health and welfare plans, among others, more than $14 million.
OIG investigations also identified vulnerabilities in and fraud against DOL programs. One investigation resulted in a high-ranking Immigration and Customs Enforcement official being sentenced to more than 17 years in prison for filing fraudulent labor certifications and committing Federal Employees' Compensation Act fraud. Another investigation resulted in the imposition of a $55 million judgment against and imprisonment of a husband, wife, and son for their roles in an H-2B visa fraud conspiracy.
The OIG remains committed to promoting the integrity, effectiveness, and efficiency of DOL. I would like to once again express my gratitude to the professional and dedicated OIG staff 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 that the rights and benefits of workers and retirees are protected.