[Excerpt] I am pleased to submit this Semiannual Report, 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, 2016. 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 organized crime in internal union affairs, employee benefits plans, and labor-management relations.
During this reporting period, the OIG issued 14 audit and other reports. Among our many significant findings, we reported the following:
- The Department remains vulnerable to premature release of embargoed economic data.
- Iowa, Indiana, and Colorado did not effectively detect, reduce, or recover unemployment insurance improper payments, and California did not fully meet established targets for detecting improper payments.
- The Employment and Training Administration needs stronger controls to ensure only eligible federal claimants receive unemployment compensation.
- The Office of Workers' Compensation Programs needs to enforce and monitor compliance with its policy to notify Federal Employees’ Compensation Act claimants and representatives of the requirement to submit fee applications.
- The Veterans’ Employment and Training Service needs to improve the financial monitoring of its Jobs for Veterans State Grant program.
During this reporting period the OIG’s investigative work yielded impressive results, with a total of 185 indictments, 164 convictions, and more than $118 million in monetary accomplishments. Highlights of our work include the following:
- Six Maryland company executives were sentenced to prison and ordered to pay more than $50 million for employee benefit fraud schemes.
- Three Northern California residents were sentenced to prison for their involvement in a decades-long scheme to fraudulently obtain more than $14 million in unemployment insurance and disability benefits.
- A New York construction company admitted to overbilling clients and agreed to pay more than $20 million in restitution and penalties.
- A federal jury found former Massey Energy chief executive officer Donald L. Blankenship guilty of conspiracy to willfully violate mine health and safety standards.
- A Louisiana labor broker was sentenced to 18 months in federal prison for her role in a scheme to defraud DOL’s H-2A visa program.
These are some of the examples of the exceptional work done by our dedicated OIG staff. I would like to express my gratitude to them for their significant achievements during this reporting period. We continue to work on several important audits. For more details, I invite you to review our updated audit work plan for fiscal year 2016, which can be found in the appendix of this report. I look forward to continuing to work constructively with the Department and the Congress on our shared goals of identifying improvements to DOL programs and operations, and protecting the interests and benefits of workers and retirees.