[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, 2015. 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 17 audit and other reports, which, among other things, recommended that more than $107 million in funds be put to better use, and questioned $1.1 million in costs. Among our many significant findings, we reported the following:
- The Department needs to take action to improve the quality and timeliness of the disability claims decisions in its Black Lung program.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration needs to strengthen Whistleblower Protection Programs to ensure complainants are protected as intended under the various Whistleblower Protection statutes.
- The Employment and Training Administration needs to improve awarding of year-end National Emergency Grants. We found 17 applications totaling $55.9 million and serving 13,762 participants that did not have explanations of how the proposed training would lead to industry-recognized credentials.
- DOL's information security program has three significant deficiencies — access control, third-party oversight, and configuration management — that have been repeatedly identified over the years.
During this reporting period the OIG’s investigative work yielded impressive results, with a total of 187 indictments, 169 convictions, and more than $54.1 million in monetary accomplishments. Highlights of our work include the following:
- Two Ohio men were sentenced to more than16 years in prison for defrauding six states of more than $1.3 million in unemployment insurance benefits.
- Wheeling Jesuit University agreed to pay $2.3 million to resolve claims of misuse of federal grants.
- Ironworkers Local 401's former business manager was sentenced to more than 19 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $558,000 in restitution for his role in a racketeering conspiracy.
- A Long Island stock broker was sentenced to more than 11 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $5.7 million in restitution to the victims and $1.8 million in forfeiture in connection with a 17-year financial fraud scheme.
- We also prepared an advisory report to provide DOL, Congress, and other interested parties with information related to our current investigative efforts to detect and pursue Unemployment Insurance fraud in Florida.
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 are currently working 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 Congress on our shared goals of identifying improvements to DOL programs and operations and protecting the interests and benefits of workers and retirees.