[Excerpt] I am pleased to submit this Semiannual Report to the Department and the 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, 2014. The OIG remains committed to promoting the integrity, effectiveness, and efficiency of DOL’s programs and operations.
In addition, our investigations continue to combat labor racketeering and organized crime in internal union affairs, employee benefit plans, and labor-management relations.
During this reporting period, the OIG issued 19 audit and other reports in which we recommended that $5.1 million in funds be put to better use. Among our many significant findings, we reported the following:
- The Employee Benefits Security Administration has not provided the guidance and oversight needed to adequately protect more than $1 trillion of plan assets invested in complex trust arrangements and hard-to-value assets held and certified by custodians.
- The Mine Safety and Health Administration lacked a unified timeliness standard for its laboratories, covering the entire cycle time from collection of samples by mine inspectors to the reporting of results, for tests of underground mine air, gas, and dust samples that are critical to ensuring mine safety and health.
- Approximately $900,000 of Job Corps funds were misused or wasted because the agency lacked basic internal controls over prepaid debit cards and centrally billed government travel cards used to pay student travel expenses.
- The Department’s financial management continuity plans did not include a fully developed plan for an acceptable recovery or reconstitution of financial data after a disruption or failure.
The OIG’s investigative work also yielded impressive results, with a total of 253 indictments, 249 convictions, and $41.3 million in monetary accomplishments. Highlights include the following:
- Two Chicago-area women were sentenced to 6 years and 4 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $4.8 million and $4.6 million, respectively, in restitution. This one of the largest fictitious employer UI fraud schemes ever prosecuted in the U.S.
- A Texas psychologist was sentenced to 3 years in prison and ordered to pay more than $1.8 million in restitution to the Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs for defrauding the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act program.
- A chiropractor and his wife were sentenced to 8 years and 2 years in prison, respectively, and ordered to pay more than $1.4 million in restitution to the victims of a health care fraud scheme.
- The wife of a Colombo La Cosa Nostra Crime Family associate was sentenced to 4 years’ probation and ordered to pay $40,000 in restitution after pleading guilty to embezzling from a union benefit plan.
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 fiscal year 2015, including reviews of Job Corps center safety and the federal Black Lung program. For more details, I invite you to review our audit work plan, which can be accessed at www.oig.dol.gov/workplan/FY2015.pdf.
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 rights and benefits of workers and retirees.