[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 March 31, 2014. 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 with respect to internal union affairs, employee benefit plans, and labor-management relations.
During this reporting period, the OIG issued 21 audit and other reports, which among other things found the following:
- The use of an optional press lock-up to provide pre-release access for news organizations to DOL’s Unemployment Insurance Claims Report may have provided a competitive trading advantage to these organizations and their clients.
- Employment and Training Administration grantees did not have proper controls in place to support payments made through On-the-Job Training National Emergency Grants, resulting in questioned costs of $362,267.
- More action is needed by the Mine Safety and Health Administration to strengthen the process for detecting and deterring underreporting of injuries and illnesses in the mining industry.
- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration could not ensure that only those employers with exemplary safety and health programs were allowed to remain in its Voluntary Protection Program.
The OIG’s investigative work also yielded impressive results, with a total of 199 indictments, 234 convictions, and $33.8 million in monetary accomplishments. Highlights include the following:
- The former president of the Metal Polishers Union Local 8A-28A was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to pay more than $800,000 in restitution for his involvement in multiple benefit plan embezzlement schemes.
- A Colorado business owner was sentenced to more than 10 years in prison for his role in an H-1B visa fraud scheme, after being found guilty of 89 counts of mail fraud, visa fraud, human trafficking, and money laundering.
- Nevada woman was sentenced to 57 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $477,000 in restitution for stealing from the Unemployment Insurance program and other federal benefit programs.
- The former president of the Service Employees International Union Local 6434 was sentenced to 33 months in prison for stealing funds from the union.
These are some 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.
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.